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Metro to Open New Expo Line to the Public on Saturday, April 28; Expo Test Trains Increase Frequency into Early Morning Peak Hours Beginning Sunday, March 25

Friday March 23, 2012

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa announced today during a Metro Expo test train ride that the new light rail line between downtown Los Angeles and Culver City will open to the public on Saturday, April 28. Opening to the public in April will be the segment from downtown Los Angeles to the Expo/La Cienega Station. Construction work continues on the Culver City station which is expected to open later this summer.

"The opening of Expo line Phases I is a critical step towards creating the multifaceted transit network that Angelenos deserve," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "When Angelenos rallied together to pass Measure R, voters sent the message loud and clear that we want transit options beyond the single-passenger automobile. Los Angeles has been leading the way to improve and expand our infrastructure and support jobs."

Poised to start regular revenue service to the public in late April, Metro will begin full pre-revenue expanded operation of test trains along the Metro Expo Line corridor beginning Sunday, March 25, running trains from 4:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., seven days a week, on a schedule of approximately every 12 minutes to simulate regular service on the line once the system opens to the public on April 28.

"Metro is excited about opening the new Metro Expo light rail line, the first time the traffic choked Westside will see rail passenger service in half a century," said Metro CEO Art Leahy. "And we're also gearing up to soon open the Metro Orange Line busway extension to Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley. These and other transit projects in the pipeline will give commuters and others real options for parking their cars, hopping on the bus or train and beating high gas prices."     

For the last month, test trains had been operating along the alignment from approximately 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. The additional train testing is needed in an effort to test the operation of the trains and the integration of Expo Line service with Metro Blue Line service in downtown Los Angeles

Due to the increased frequency of trains traveling along the entire Metro Expo Line corridor, Metro is reminding the public to be alert and stay updated on rail safety tips.

Metro's website (metro.net) under Transit Safety, reminds pedestrians and motorists to pay attention to signs around the tracks and at intersections, in particular the "keep clear" and "wait here" signs painted on streets and sidewalks. In addition, the public needs to watch for the flashing "train" signals, listen for bells, and obey all traffic signals and lowered crossings gates.

The public will notice more and more trains operating along the line including testing of trains during the early morning hours and late at night and along the portion of the line that shares tracks with the Metro Blue Line, serving the Pico Station and the 7th Street/Metro Center Station in downtown Los Angeles.

As part of Metro's rail safety awareness program, rail safety ambassadors have been placed at various intersections along the Metro Expo Line during the testing of trains to educate the public about the service and how to safely navigate around the system. The rail safety ambassadors are all retired Metro bus and rail operators that are fully trained in safety rules and regulations so they can assist at crossings, observe situations that may occur and report back to Metro Rail staff.

Metro community relations staff continues to offer safety presentations to various groups and organizations and to date, 63,000 safety flyers have been distributed door-to-door within a two block radius of the line. An additional 60,000 safety flyers are to be distributed during the next few months leading up to the actual opening of the line.

Additionally, beginning back in April 2010, all schools within a 1.5-mile radius of the line began receiving safety presentations by Metro community relations staff members with safety posters being distributed to schools including the University of Southern California, Mount St. Mary's College and LA Trade Technical College. Safety presentations also have taken place at libraries, community centers and senior centers in the area.

Metro relies on the community as partners to make rail safety a priority. Metro reminds all pedestrians and motorists to remember that before crossing any set of railroad tracks, "look, listen and live."

Phase I of the Metro Expo Line is a new $932 million, 8.6-mile light rail line under construction from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City.  It will have 12 stations with two stations shared with the Metro Blue Line. The new light rail line will serve USC, Exposition Park, The Mid-City communities, the Crenshaw District and Culver City.

Phase II of the Metro Expo Line, a $1.5 billion 6.6-mile extension from Culver City to Santa Monica, is funded under the Measure R half-cent sale tax initiative approved by the voters in 2008. Phase II will have seven stations serving West Los Angeles/Santa Monica and is expected to be completed in 2016.

Both Phase I and II of the Metro Expo Line are being built by the Expo Construction Authority. Once completed, they are turned over to Metro to operate. For more information about the new Metro Expo Line, visit metro.net/expo or buildexpo.org.

Editors Note: Photos of today's Media Tour on the new Expo light rail line are available at the following link: http://yousend.it/GWLRsi


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