Metro's new Expo light-rail line which runs from Downtown to the Westside, is scheduled to open this weekend with free rides for all who are interested, from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to two days of free rides, there will be celebrations at selected stations on Saturday, including near the one at Exposition and Crenshaw boulevards at the West Angeles Church Parking Lot. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be karaoke open to the public and various booths from civic groups and assorted organizations.
The new Metro line runs 8.6 miles and aims to reduce traffic congestion for commuters and provide an alternative to the Santa Monica (10) freeway. It includes 10 new stations that will service areas including Downtown, the Crenshaw area and Exposition Park. Five of the Expo line's stops will be located in South L.A. -- three are on the outskirts of USC.
Metro estimates the total ride time from Downtown to Culver City will be less than 30 minutes, but the Culver City stop is not scheduled to open until the summer. The Farmdale station located near Dorsey High School is also not slated to be up-and-running for a few more months.
On Friday, officials held an opening ceremony for the line at the Exposition Park/USC station, where a lucky few rode a train that broke through the traditional ‘first train’ banner, according to Metro.
”The opening of the Expo Line is a central step toward a 21st century transit system this region deserves,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Metro reports. “We can and will do much more."
The Expo's opening weekend comes after a few hiccups for the new cross-city line: Just last week, a test train collided with a car near USC. Although there were no passengers on the train, the driver of the car was injured and transported to a hospital.
Almost a month prior to this incident, an Expo car collided with another car carrying six passengers near downtown L.A.