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Metro’s CEO promises relief for Expo line overcrowding coming 'very, very soon'

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Not enough train cars

Though Los Angeles finally has its rail line to the Pacific Ocean, there have been rumblings of discontent from passengers. The new Expo line is almost too popular—the train cars have passengers packed in tightly, as this Tweet shows:

But Metro CEO Phillip Washington revealed some good news Thursday while speaking to KPCC’s Airtalk. He promised that "big relief" for overcrowding on both the Gold and Expo Line is coming, "very, very soon."

The hold up is the speed in which Metro is receiving new trains from its contractor. The Japan-based company, Kinkisharyo, is producing around four cars per month. Once a car is delivered to LA, it has be tested by Metro before it can be put into service. Washington says Metro is trying to increase that rate to five cars per month.

Complaints of crowding on the Expo Line were already a subject of discussion before the rail line opened its extension to Santa Monica. Once the seven new stations from opened in May, Expo Line ridership went way up, yet the Expo Line was still running two-car trains, despite a dramatic increase in riders.

Metro has been operating on a deficit of train cars due to the recent extensions of both the Gold and Expo Lines. About four years ago, Metro contracted with Kinkisharyo to produce a total of 175 new train cars for its upcoming extensions of the two light rail lines. But Metro went forward with opening both the Gold and Expo Line extensions before waiting for all the rail cars to be completed.

The first completed car of this order was delivered in October 2014, so at the rate Kinkisharyo is going, Metro may have to wait at least another year before it finally gets the full fleet.

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