In what could turn out to be a step toward 'round-the-clock service, all Metro rail lines and the Orange Line busway in the San Fernando Valley will run until after 2 a.m. on weekends starting tonight in what officials say is a transit system expansion consistent with the region's vibrant night life.
Officials are also considering extending the hours of the Silver Line busway, which runs from Harbor Gateway through downtown and east to El Monte.
"It's a reflection that Los Angeles is changing. There's a vibrant night life in L.A. County from Long Beach to Culver City, downtown, Pasadena, North Hollywood," Littman said. "We don't roll up our sidewalks at 5 o'clock and not just at Staples Center."
The decision to extend the hours was made by Metro Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy, who aims eventually to run the lines 24 hours a day, Littman said.
Metro tried later hours on the Red Line during the 2008 Christmas season. The operating expenses were covered by downtown and Hollywood-area businesses and the offices of council members Jose Huizar, Jan Perry, Eric Garcetti and then-Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, but the money ran out.
The exact cost of extending service on all lines this time is unclear, but Littman said it will be ``marginal.''
The last Gold Line train from Union Station to Pasadena currently leaves at 11:54 p.m. The last Red Line train to North Hollywood leaves downtown at 12:17 a.m.
Littman said the extended hours would be good for the economy, especially bars, restaurants and the entertainment industry, allowing theater-goers to catch a drink in Hollywood after a play or movie and "not worry you're going to turn into a pumpkin and miss your train."
The later service will also benefit public safety by keeping drunken drivers from the street and providing transportation to a number of hospitals in Hollywood, Littman said.
Running trains later in the night is the most common request Metro officials receive, and "we're trying to be responsive to the public,'' Littman said.
Metro board member and City Councilman Jose Huizar praised Leahy's decision to expand weekend night service.
"I've heard from many people for the need to permanently extend Metro train service hours," said Huizar, who represents downtown, including Union Station.
"In downtown Los Angeles, Metro's extended Friday, Saturday evening hours will allow more customers to enjoy the many exciting late-night venues we offer, as well encourage more people to use public transportation."