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New Blue Improvements to Southern Section Completed; Northern Section of Blue Line to Close for Similar Improvements Effective Saturday, June 1

Wednesday May 29, 2019

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) today announced that the southern section of the Blue Line between Compton and Downtown Long Beach stations will reopen on Saturday, June 1, following the successful completion of the New Blue upgrades. On that same day, rail service will be suspended and replaced by bus shuttles on the northern section of the Blue Line between Compton and 7th/Metro stations.

In addition, Metro announced that construction work at the junction of the Expo and Blue lines near Washington and Grand Avenue will begin on June 22, 2019, for 60 days. During that time, bus shuttles will replace Expo Line service between LATTC/Ortho Inst Station and 7th/Metro stations.

“Blue Line riders are about to receive a number of service improvements, which will lead to fewer delays and refurbished stations,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “The Expo and Blue Line junction work will take 60 days, during which bus shuttles will be utilized to provide a convenient alternative. We’re getting this work done as fast as humanly possible, so that riders will be able to enjoy an enhanced, ‘true Blue’ Metro experience.”

The end of work on the southern section of the Blue Line marks the halfway point of the $350-million New Blue project which will bring Metro’s oldest and historically busiest light rail line up to the specifications of Metro’s newer rail lines. Work to improve the reliability, safety and the customer experience has been ongoing since 2014 with a series of safety and operational improvements.

Current improvements to the system include upgrading rail tracks, overhead power lines, train control and adding switches. Station area upgrades include new digital customer information screens, repainted stations, new signage and fresh landscaping.

“I can’t wait to see those rail cars rolling down Long Beach Boulevard beginning this Saturday,” said Long Beach Mayor and Metro Board Member Robert Garcia. “When the work is completed this fall the Blue Line will be transformed into a modern light rail line that will continue to provide a transportation lifeline to the many communities between downtown Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles.”

When the New Blue project is completed, there will be new signage in all stations indicating the new name of the light rail line: Line A. The Metro Board of Directors last year approved a plan to rename Metro Rail and Bus Rapid Transit Lines using letters and colors to better help customers navigate the agency’s growing transit network.

“The first half of the New Blue project has been completed on time and on budget and is a major milestone for Metro’s State of Good Repair program,” said Metro CEO Phillip A, Washington. “The northern segment will be challenging, but I’m confident that Metro staff will tackle this work with the same focus and determination they did on the southern segment."

Bus Shuttle Service

Metro bus shuttles will replace rail service on the northern section as follows:

860 Express: Monday to Friday from 5 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fare is $1.75 or free with a transfer. The shuttle will stop at the following stations: Downtown Long Beach, Pacific, 1st Street, 5th Street, Anaheim, Pacific Coast Highway, Willow, Wardlow, Adams Boulevard bus stop, Expo Line LATTC/Ortho Inst. Station, Grand/LATTC Station (Blue Line), Pico (Blue Line/Expo Line stations) and 7th St/Metro Center (Blue, Expo, Red/Purple Lines) stations.

863 Select: Monday to Friday, rush hours only. Fare is $1.75 or free with a transfer. The shuttle will stop at the following stations: Compton, Harbor Freeway (Green Line and Silver Line), Manchester (Silver Line), Slauson (Silver Line), 37th St/USC Station (Silver Line), Adams Boulevard bus stop, Expo Line LATTC/Ortho Inst. Station, Grand/LATTC Station (Blue Line), Pico (Blue Line/Expo Line stations) and 7th St/Metro Center (Blue, Expo, Red/Purple Lines) stations.

864 Local: Same hours of service as rail with free fare to all 11 stations between Compton and 7th/Metro where rail service is suspended. The shuttle will also stop at the Expo Line LATTC/Ortho Inst. Station.

856 Local Expo (June 22 to Late Aug.): Same service as rail with free fare. The shuttle will stop at the following stations: Expo Line LATTC/Orth Inst. Station, Pico (Blue Line/Expo Line) Station and 7th St/Metro Center (Blue, Expo, Red/Purple Lines) station. The Red/Purple Lines at 7th St/Metro Center will be open during construction work on the Blue Line. 

Metro recommends that riders plan ahead and allow extra time to reach destinations during the Blue Line work. Riders may consider using alternate routes such as the Silver Line 910 and 950 and Metro Local Bus Lines such as the 55, 355, 115, 115, 108 and 358.

During the 60-day interruption of two Expo Line Stations, Metro recommends customers consider alternate routes such as the Metro Rapid 720, 733, 754, Silver Line 910 and 950, Big Blue Bus Rapid 7, Route 7, R10 and LADOT Dash F.

Metro Ambassadors:

Metro has already deployed ambassadors to all northern segment stations to provide information to passengers and ensure smooth transfers. Metro ambassadors will be wearing blue hats.

Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station Improvements

The Blue Line Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station has been closed since late January and is undergoing a total renovation with a longer platform, new canopies and a new southern pedestrian entrance.

New customer amenities include a Metro Customer Service Center, Bike Hub, Transit Security Center, Community Plaza, renovated Park & Ride lot and pickup and drop off zone. Work on the station is expected to be completed in September. During the closure, Green Line service will operate on its regular schedule at Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station.

Intersection IxNTouch Information Screens

In order to enhance the customer experience, Metro and its vendor, Intersection, have installed new IxNTouch information screens on the southern section of the Blue Line as part of the New Blue improvements.

Powered by Intersection’s innovative transit communications platform, the screens will be available at renovated stations to give riders greater access to transit information, including rail and bus arrival times, emergency messages, way-finding assistance and other helpful customer information.

This innovation customer information technology comes at zero cost to taxpayers, as the system is paid for with Intersection’s advertising revenues. Customer information screens will also be deployed on the second phase of Blue Line improvements and then expand to the rest of the Metro system over the next several years.

Metro Art:

To further improve the customer experience, integrated artworks along the line are being refurbished. A new pilot program will feature rotating portraits of Metro riders created by artists connected to the neighborhoods served by the rail line, as well as animations exploring mobility.

The artworks will be presented in all stations in the corridor on digital displays and will be featured on limited edition TAP cards. For more information about Metro’s art programs, please visit www.metro.net/art

Community Outreach

Metro has been conducting a robust outreach campaign along the entire alignment to keep Metro customers, cities, communities, stakeholders and the public informed about the New Blue project. For information visit the New Blue website at www.metro.net/newblue or call the project hotline (213) 418-3039.

About Metro
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies. Created in 1993, Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that transports about 1.3 million passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six rail lines. The agency also oversees bus, rail, highway and other mobility-related building projects and leads transportation planning and programming for Los Angeles County.

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net, facebook.com/losangelesmetro, twitter.com/metrolosangeles and twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.

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