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Excitement Builds for New Metro Rail in East LA

To say neighborhood residents are excited about the Nov. 15 opening of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension might be a slight understatement.

“This one is going to be big. It's a whole new part of town. The community is very excited out there,” said Bruce Shelburne, Metro Director of Scheduling and Service Development.

Equally excited are the 500-plus Metro employees including Service Attendants, bus and train operators, Customer Service Agents, and Metro officials who will be shepherding crowds at Union Station, as well as the Extension’s eight new stations.

“We'll have people on the platforms, on the crosswalks, in the mezzanine, in the queue lines,” said Shelburne.

Amid final preparations, Shelburne was tapped on the shoulder by at least 10 people who wanted to know more about the new train, and when they would get to ride it.

“Everybody who walked by asked me something. They're all so excited for the train to be coming. That really is kind of a neat feeling,” Shelburne said, noting that he’s had a role in every new line opening since 1990 when Metro cut the ribbon on the Blue Line.

Shelburne estimates some 80,000 passengers will take advantage of the free ride on opening day. “We've got capacity to carry over 100,000 passengers,” he said indicating the trains will run about every eight minutes.

SAFETY AND ORDER

Days before the opening, Customer Information Agent Marie Tervalon assisted with the training of the Metro Safety Ambassadors who will move crowds safely around the four street level stations. “People are really gung ho about it in East L.A.,” Tervalon said.

Customer Information Agent Jacqueline Exeart – who, like Shelburne, has also worked every Metro opening since 1990 – said that in the past, the crowds have been very orderly.

When it’s time to board for the first time, she said, “It’s just amazing how their eyes light up, and for the people in that community who know that now they can get from point A to point B.”

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