With a simple snip of a blue ribbon, the Culver City Expo station officially opened for business Wednesday morning.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City officials took the first ride to the station at 9 a.m. to take part in an "East-meets-West" ribbon-cutting ceremony with Culver City Mayor Andy Weissman, and to celebrate the opening of the long-awaited station.
"This marks the beginning of a new era in Culver City and the Westside - an era of convenient, economical and environmentally friendly alternatives to driving," Weissman said.
To the residents of Culver City, the station means a future bright with economic development and transit opportunities, said Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County 2nd District Supervisor and a member of the Metro Board of Directors and the Exposition Construction Authority Board of Directors.
Culver City Councilmember Micheal O'Leary said he expects commuters to take advantage of the free parking at the station.
"It's cheaper than parking downtown, and you can get your work done on the train before you get to the office," he told Patch following the official ceremony.
Fellow Culver City Councilmember Jim Clarke added that while the new station is a great way for commuters to get downtown, he hopes that Culver City will also become a destination in itself.
"I'm really hoping people will use the train to come to Culver City and experience all the great amenities, shops and restaurants we have," he said.
Culver City officials are currently in talks with local business owners and plan to make the area surrounding the station a hotbed of business and residential development.
The opening of the Culver City station marks the end of Phase One of the Expo Line's extension from Downtown to Santa Monica.
"Now it's on to Santa Monica," said Villaraigosa. "But before we get to Santa Monica, let's enjoy and revel in the success of the great Culver City."
The station officially opened to the public at noon. Passengers will receive free Expo passes for the day if they board at either the Culver City or Farmdale stations.
The public opening of the Culver City Station also coincides with Downtown Culver City’s Third Wednesday "Summer Solstice" Happy Hour from 5-9 p.m., which features special offers from over 25 participating businesses throughout the downtown area, as well as outdoor entertainment and activities.