SANTA MONICA—Metro’s Expo Line, the 15.2-mile light-rail line that runs from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica, has reached a daily average of over 64,000 boardings, according to Metro’s new official data released on Monday, July 10. The data, which reflects ridership for the month of June, indicates the Expo Line achieved a ridership goal originally projected to be reached in 2030.
The first phase of the light-rail line, which travels from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City, reached the projected 2020 ridership of 27,000 in August 2013, one year after it opened. The six-mile second phase of the Expo Line extending to Santa Monica opened in May 2016. The 64,000 riders projected for 2030 was initially viewed with skepticism, according to reports. By March 2017, the weekday ridership was at 55,388, according to Curbed LA. By May 2017, the number reached 61,000.
The Expo Line experienced issues early on, such as overcrowding and late trains, prompting concerns about the efficiency of rail technology. The line only ran two-car trains, despite an increase in ridership. The advertised 45- to 50-minute trip from downtown to Santa Monica was frequently delayed by up to 30 minutes, due to interruptions and long wait times. Over the months, Metro increased the number of trains and the frequency of train arrivals.
Though the Expo Line’s ridership continues to thrive, overall ridership struggles remain across Metro. During the last fiscal year, the agency’s bus boardings dropped by 9 percent over the previous year. The Blue and Green Lines have experienced decreased ridership, according to Urbanize.