The Edward R. Roybal Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension serving Union Station downtown to East Los Angeles will open to the public Nov. 15.
Free rides on the entire Metro Gold Line from Pasadena to East Los Angeles will be offered on opening day.
"The long-awaited Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension is going to greatly benefit the community by linking it with schools, hospitals, shopping and business opportunities throughout the county," said Ara Najarian, chair of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors.
"It's a wonderful example of the power of our partnership with the workers who built it, with the local people who insisted on it and with our federal legislators who secured more than half of the $898 million needed to build it," Najarian said.
The six-mile Eastside Extension light rail segment will have eight new stations, two of them underground at Soto and Mariachi Plaza, and 1.7 miles of underground track. It will link the existing Metro Gold Line to Pasadena with Little Tokyo and the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles, before traveling east along 1st Street through Boyle Heights to East Los Angeles. When it opens it will bring the Metro Rail system to a total of 79 miles of rail -- all built during the past 20 years.
More than 20 bus lines -- including those serving L.A.'s downtown Union Station -- will connect the Eastside Extension with greater Los Angeles County.
Groundbreaking began in July 2004. The project has posted an exemplary safety record -- more than 4 million construction hours without a lost-time work injury -- making it perhaps the safest major public works project in U.S. history. Train testing service began in October.
Ridership on the extension is expected to grow steadily, reaching 13,000 average weekday boarding passengers by the end of the first year of operation.