Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


LA Metro's New Train And Bus Names Are Official. Time To Learn Your Transit ABCs

New signage dubs the Blue Line the A Line at Los Angeles Metro's Pico station. (Courtesy Los Angeles Metro)
Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

The rail line formerly known as "Blue" has been the A Line since it reopened in the fall after a nearly yearlong upgrade project. Now, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has given the rest of its bus and train lines their new official names, too.

The current color-naming convention has been replaced with letter-based monikers, though those familiar colors will still have a presence in the new system. Metro is in the process of updating its website to reflect the new names, along with timetables, maps, posters, and station signage (and merch).

Metro's leadership approved the system-wide name changes in 2018, calling the existing conventions "inconsistent" and difficult to navigate, which would only get more confusing as it expanded its transit system.

The letters follow the alphabet, with a few notable omissions. The Orange Line, Metro's rapid bus line in the Valley, for example, was originally to become the F Line, but will now be dubbed the G Line.

Support for LAist comes from
Our new regional transit system ABCs. (Courtesy L.A. Metro)

Metro believes (rightly so) that we can't be trusted to not immediately descend into our finest middle school humor, so they got the F outta there.

That's right: L.A. Metro's new naming system will not include the F Line because the agency doesn't want Angelenos calling it the f*** bus, and other such besmirchings.

Transit agency spokesman Rick Jager put it a bit more delicately, telling LAist that out of an "abundance of caution," Metro decided to "avoid letters that may lead to some type of offensive characterization of a particular line."

"They had some concerns with the letter F for obvious reasons," Jager said (I can't stop thinking about how those meetings played out at Metro HQ).

As such, the newly minted G Line busway is expected to maintain its dignity.

Some other letters were skipped over, but for less hilarious reasons. Jager said international symbolism -- like "H" for hospital and "P" for parking -- means we won't be riding those lines.

Metro officials have said they're fully aware that longtime riders will likely keep calling the lines by the colors they're used to, but the agency does have a plan to deal with the anticipated confusion as it spends the next several years updating signs throughout the system.

A "transitional naming convention" is being implemented, according to a fact sheet published for Metro employees, which offers new guidelines for how to talk about the system with riders moving forward.

Employees are being directed to refer to the former Blue Line as "A Line (Blue)," the former Red Line as "B Line (Red)" and so on through the Gold Line -- now "L Line (Gold)." One big no-no Metro listed: don't call it the "A Train."

Support for LAist comes from

That internal education is especially important for the agency's 4,500 bus and train operators, who Jager said serve a key role as "ambassadors to our riders."

"They obviously have to know the lingo and the terminology and the identification for specific lines when they're asked 'how do I get from point A to point B?'" he said.

The Gold Line also had quite the naming journey through this alphabet soup. Staff initially recommended it become the E Line, but since the Expo Line exists, Metro officials later decided to keep things simple and let the Expo Line keep its "E".

The Gold Line was then to be the J Line, but now, it will officially be redubbed the L Line (and the Silver Line gets to be the J Line). But the Gold Line's new identity will be relatively short-lived, since the existing route is being absorbed into two other train lines once the Regional Connector project opens (projected to happen in 2022).

When that happens, 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 E Line (Expo), running west to Santa Monica.

Editor's note: It is our duty and no laughing matter to inform you that the Purple Line will become the D Line. Do with this information what you will.