Last week, I took the new Metro Expo line extension from Santa Monica (17th Street/St SMC) to Downtown LA. It was an easy ride and I sat at the window taking it all in – or so I thought.
On the way home, I saw entirely new sights and a tonne of street art that I hadn’t noticed on my way in. At a certain point, I realized that I hadn’t changed trains and was now in Long Beach, 30+ miles in the wrong direction!
During my journeys, I noticed a few bits and bobs:
1) Whichever direction you head, the station artwork is great. Like in London, each station has a different theme, from musical mosaics to fashion murals to funny seats that look they have wads of chewed gum stuck to them.
2) A not so positive observation was how exposed the tracks are. In my haste to catch the train, I nearly ran over them. There are no barriers to prevent someone from doing so. One of the benefits of this additional public transport is the hope people will use it rather than drink and drive. The way these tracks are laid out is begging for face-first stumbles or worse.
3) Londoners please note that, unlike the “Oyster” card, you don’t need to tap out when you’ve reached your destination and you’re leaving the station. You just push the turnstile to exit. I made the mistake of trying to “tap out” and then pushing the turnstile. $1.75 down the drain.
4) There are signs on the trains and platforms that ban you from eating or drinking. The METRO website advises that this ban is enforced to try and keep and the stations clean. We have something similar on the underground when it comes to “smelly” food but you can still eat. Seems a bit extreme to me.
So, recommendations! For some interesting facts about the lines first day, this article by LA Curbed is good. 12,000 people rode the new line extension last Monday. However, there were a few hiccups…
I loved this short video. It features a guy named Alan, a retired METRO employee who was on the last Red Car Train to Santa Monica in 1953. This video shows him trying out the new line before it was open to the public. Alan’s happiness about the new line and the bitesize history about the old line.
Lastly, I wanted to mention that there is going to be an open street event this weekend on Sunday, called COAST in Santa Monica. COAST will be celebrating mobility and commemorates the new additions to the Expo line.
Date: June 5th
Starts: 9:00 am
Ends: 3:00 pm
Location: Santa Monica
The event is free and would make a great family outing. This is Santa Monica’s first open streets event. The idea is to make your way to the coast and then the COAST route takes you mainly along Ocean, Colorado and Main Street through to Downtown Santa Monica. Local businesses will be participating and Breeze bike share will be free that day. There will be two miles of car-free streets and you will be able to discover local food, shops, music, games and dance along the way.