Photos: Expo Line Dedication Ceremony Ahead of Free Weekend Rides

Get ready to ride the rails! Starting at 5 a.m. today you’ll be able to ride the new Expo Line for free all weekend.

The official ceremony for the opening of the Expo Line took place on Friday (see attached photos), but today and tomorrow it’s finally open to the public.

Culver City Mayor Micheal O’Leary along with other members of the Culver City City Council joined Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa together with local elected officials Friday to celebrate the dedication of the new Metro Expo light rail line at a special ceremony adjacent to the Expo Park/USC Station near the University of Southern California.

“Today we celebrate the opening of Expo Line Phase I, a critical step towards creating the multi-faceted transit network that Angelenos deserve,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “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 continues to lead as we improve and expand our infrastructure and support jobs.”

The new Metro Expo Line train carrying officials from downtown Los Angeles broke through a banner at the Expo Park/USC Station as confetti and fireworks canons fired and the USC Trojan Marching Band played, marking the beginning of the hour-long dedication ceremony.    

Other attendees included L.A. County Supervisors and Metro Board members Mark Ridley-Thomas and Yaroslavsky, Metro Board member and Santa Monica City Councilmember Pam O’Connor, LA City Council President Herb Wesson, LA City Council Members Jan Perry and Bernard Parks, State Senator Curren Price, State Assembly Members Bonnie Lowenthal, Mike Davis and Mike Feuer, Mike Peavey and Timothy Simon with the California Public Utilities Commission, Metro CEO Art Leahy and Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe.

“Commuters to and from the western part of our County have been waiting a long time for this day, and it is finally here,” said Yaroslavsky.  “The Expo Line marks the first extension of this region’s public mass transit system west of Western Avenue since the dismantling of the red car system more than half a century ago. It will incorporate Exposition Park, the Crenshaw district and Culver City into the regional transportation network, serving one of the most underserved areas of our region.”          

Under construction since 2006, the new Metro Expo Line spans 8.6 miles between downtown Los Angeles and Culver City with more construction currently underway to expand the line another 6.6 miles to reach Santa Monica by 2016.

The Metro Expo Line links the Westside with downtown Los Angeles via a joint station serving the Metro Red, Purple and Blue lines at the 7th Street Metro Center Station. Together, these lines crisscross the region making connections with the Eastside, Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Norwalk, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley.

This Weekend's Free Rides:

The line will operate between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. both today and tomorrow. However, the free rides are only for this line. Patrons using other Metro operated trains (Red/Purple, Gold, Green & Blue lines) and Metro buses will pay regular fares.

In addition, Metro will celebrate the opening family events at four Metro Expo Line rail stations on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The following events will take place at these stations:

7th St/Metro Center Station – 7th street between Figueroa  and Hope
Entertainment by Double Gee NineNet, a Latino jazz band presented by Make Music L.A., as well as other bands and performers. Booths will include those by IRIS from Cirque du Soleil, the Music Center, AQMD, L.A. Kings, L.A. Downtown News, Coca-Cola, Downtown Center Business Improvement District, Snap Yourself! photobooth and the Colburn School of Music.

Expo Park/USC Station – Pardee Plaza at USC
Entertainment by the Brian Schwartz Quartet presented by Make Music L.A. and other performers. Booths will include those by the California Science Center, the California African American Museum, the Natural History Musem, USC Atheletics and the Metro/LADOT Bicycle Program.

Expo/Crenshaw Station – West Angeles Church Parking Lot
Entertainment at this station will include karaoke open to the public. Booths will include those by City Lites Network Inc., Leimert Park Book Fair and the Louisiana to Los Angeles Organizing Committee Inc.

La Cienega/Jefferson Station – Expo Station Parking Structure
Entertainment at this station will include Derk Reklaw Cuzmo, an African jazz band presented by Make Music L.A., Fantastic Fig, a magician with a cat, karaoke and other performers. Booths will include those by Expo Construction Authority, Watts Village Theatre and KLOS/KABC radio.

In addition, a mime from 24th Street Theatre will be traveling along the line and performing at the 7th/Metro Center Station, the Expo Park/USC Station and the La Cienega/Jefferson Station.Portable restrooms also will be available at the four stations.

Visitors are encouraged to use public transit to get to the various events, as parking will be very limited during opening weekend.

Fares for the new Metro Expo Line following the free weekend rides will be the same as all Metro-operated bus and trains: $1.50 one-way (cash) or by purchasing a Metro Day Pass for $5. Regular Metro monthly passes also are available for $75 good for unlimited travel on all Metro buses and trains.

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