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Expo Line Hits Ridership Goal 13 Years Ahead Of Projections

(Photo by Robert Koo via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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L.A. County's Metro has achieved a feat of time-travel: the agency's Exposition Line (which stretches from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica) has hit ridership goals a full 13 years (years!) before expected. The line's most recently released data (for the month of June), shows ridership at over 64,000 people during weekdays (and between 32,000 to 35,000 during weekends).

In a January 2015 fact sheet, Metro projected "64,000 daily riders from Downtown LA to Santa Monica by 2030." Well, Metro, how does June 2017 sound, instead?

"Those projects were made as part of the studies required by various state and federal agencies," Jose Urbaldo, a spokesman for Metro, told LAist. "But we've been making various improvements—increasing the number of trains, decreasing train headweight to allow for more passengers per car—that have helped with ridership."

Expo's daily weekday ridership has been growing consistently since opening. In June 2016 (a month after opening), it was just shy of 46,000 daily weekday riders. In May 2017, it was at about 61,000.

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Phase 1 of the Expo Line opened in 2012 between downtown L.A. and Culver City. The agency projected 12,000 daily weekday riders for that stretch by 2020, and surpassed the estimate by August 2013. Phase 2 of the line opened in May 2016, completing the 15.2-mile light rail that was first approved in 2005.

As Urbanize L.A. notes, the line has also had its share of troubles. The advertised 46-minute downtown L.A.-to-Santa Monica travel times are consistently hit with 10, 20, and 30 minute delays, and the frequency of train arrivals (or lack thereof) has added additional outcry.

"Ridership is not the only [success metric] we're trying to achieve," Ubaldo continued. "Service, safety, cleanliness—we still have room to keep moving towards our goals."