Los Angeles Metro plans to add more trains to the Expo Line by December to meet growing ridership.
In August, 43,015 people rode the line daily, reaching about 70 percent of the daily ridership Metro planners projected for 2030, according to a report. However, some riders said the line’s 12-minute train intervals are too infrequent, which makes the trains overcrowded.
The Expo Line is one of six lines in the Metro’s system. It connects Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica by light rail with a 45-minute ride, and includes a stop on Westwood Boulevard just south of Pico Boulevard. A 2009 study estimated that the Westwood Metro station would be the second most popular station, attracting 5,200 passengers daily.
Dave Sotero, spokesman for Metro, said there will be a 33 percent increase in trains by December, bringing the total to 18 trains with two cars each. The trains will run every six minutes, instead of the current 12-minute intervals, until 8 p.m., when they will run every 12 minutes.
Sotero said Metro was operating with the minimum number of trains when they opened the new line. The train manufacturer is producing more trains for Metro, which he believes will help with the overcrowding issues.
Sotero said he attributes the popularity of the line to its dense urban location.
Emmanuel Bravo, a fifth-year anthropology student, takes the bus from his house to Western Avenue to Westwood every weekday. From the Westwood station, he takes the bus to UCLA.
The trip takes 45 minutes to an hour, Bravo said. Before, when he took the 720 bus, it took him about two hours to reach UCLA. Bravo said he tries to take the train between 7 and 7:30 a.m., when it’s less crowded.
“Between 8 and 11 a.m. and 2 and 6 p.m., it gets really overcrowded,” Bravo said. “I’ve ended up missing trains because there are too many people, and I’ll have to wait for the next two or three trains.”
Bravo said he thinks trains every six minutes would be ideal during peak hours, and that he is glad Metro is making improvements to the line.
LaTiana Karriem, a fourth-year political science and international developmental studies student, used to take the Expo Line to Downtown, but said she disliked the long lines and crowded train cars. Now she uses Uber instead.
Karriem said she thinks the Expo Line is popular among people who work downtown or in Santa Monica, and students who explore Los Angeles on the weekends. She added she thinks adding more trains will increase ridership.
“There was a general consensus among people that the Expo Line just had too long of a wait,” Karriem said. “I assume others would use it more often now that the time is down to six minutes.”