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Ignore Those 'Line A' Signs. Metro's Blue Line Will Reopen As The 'A Line'

New signage dubs the Blue Line the A Line at Los Angeles Metro's Pico station. (Courtesy Los Angeles Metro)
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Following nine months of closures and delays amid two phases of construction, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority's oldest rain line is scheduled to fully reopen in late October.

The "New Blue" Line will also come with a new name: the A Line. In fact, Metro's entire rail and busways will swap their colors for letters over the next few years.

The transit agency's board of directors approved the new naming convention last year, in large part because Metro has run out of primary and secondary colors. Adding shades of colors -- think: olive, lime, pink and lavender -- would only add confusion, officials concluded, especially with Metro's plans to open eight new transit lines in time for the 2028 Olympics.

When the name changes were approved last November, they were referred to as the A Line, B Line and so on.

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Then in an email to LAist last month, one Metro official said the Blue Line would be renamed Line A when it reopened. When asked to clarify, given the name listed in agency documents, the official doubled down: "Yes, Line A... that's it."

Then this week, that same official said it will actually be the A Line.

Metro will have to replace some signs at Blue Line stations calling it Line A when the route reopens as the A Line, tentatively to happen on Oct. 28. (Courtesy Kenny Uong via Twitter)

However, new signs at several Blue Line stations, including the Pacific Avenue station, declare something different. The signs now call the rail route Line A.

Ahem. What, pray tell, is going on here? What is this train route's actual name?

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I reached out to Metro to sort this out and see if the agency was on board with one specific new name. According to Yvette Rapose, who leads Metro's communication team, the Blue Line will become the A Line -- not Line A -- but it's been a journey.

When Metro's board first approved the change, staff has recommended using Line A, Line B, etc. as the naming convention. That decision was made just before the Blue Line capital improvements project launched, and new signs were part of the construction package, Rapose explained. But after all that work was locked in, Metro staff changed direction again.

"Some of the feedback that we got was that 'Line A' and 'Line B' and 'Line C' was not as intuitive to our riders as saying 'the A Line' or 'the B Line,'" Rapose told LAist. "And so as we moved forward with the rolling out of this new naming convention, we made a strategic decision to move to 'A Line,' 'B Line,' 'C Line.'"

The most recent plans (which are still subject to change) to rename Metro's transit system. (Courtesy Los Angeles Metro)

But Metro staff doesn't expect riders' habits will shift just because letters will start appearing in those familiar colored circles.

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"Those who call it the Blue Line will probably always call it the Blue Line... nobody's going to get a fine here," Rapose said. "What we want to do is take some very old signage on this system, and bring it up to modern standards and make it a much easier system to use for our current customers and those soon-to-be Metro customers."

A systemwide signage update (including replacing the "Line A" signs at several Blue Line stations) is expected to cost Metro about $9 million, Rapose said. That undertaking will also include a public education campaign so Metro riders can learn their new transit ABCs.

And of course, those onboard announcements will be changing, too.

"[Riders will] be hearing: 'you're on the A Line... or on Line A... no, on the A Line' -- I'm kidding," she said.

One thing riders will need to keep in mind in the near future is that the Blue Line -- er, the rail line soon-to-be formerly known as Blue -- will be getting longer. When Metro's Regional Connector project is completed and opened (projected to happen in 2022), the Gold Line as it exists now will be split.

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Here's how Metro's Regional Connector project will reconfigure rail lines through downtown L.A. (Courtesy Los Angeles Metro)

The northern section through the San Gabriel Valley will become part of the new A Line, with service from Azusa to Long Beach, and the East L.A. section will merge into the Expo Line (later to be renamed the E Line), running west to Santa Monica.

"Ultimately, we expect that the entire system will be swapped out and in alignment with the naming convention by the time the Regional Connector project opens in 2022," Rapose said.

No word on what happens if a Z Line ever opens.

Correction: A previous version of this story credited L.A. Metro for the photo of the "Line A" sign. The photo was taken by Metro rider Kenny Uong. LAist regrets the error.