More People Are Riding the Train Thanks to Expo Line Extension to Santa Monica

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There was a time in LA’s recent past when the idea of traveling by light rail to the Pacific Ocean was just a wondrous hypothetical. Now, it’s now just another part of the workaday commute for several thousand Angelenos.

Since opening to much fanfare (and insane lines) on May 20, Metro’s Expo Line extension from Union Station to Santa Monica has settled into its daily routine. Was the Expo Line able to hang on to many of those curious new riders from opening day or has the reality of an embedded car culture sunk the dreams of train commuting in Los Angeles?

It’s probably too early to tell, Expo Line ridership numbers year-over-year shows a rosy outlook for the train line’s future. Overall, it looks like Metro’s westward extension of the Expo Line has succeeded in luring new passengers to take the train. According to Metro’s news blog, The Source, both weekday and weekend Expo Line ridership is up since the train began traveling to Santa Monica in May.

Ridership data for Metro’s Expo Line (6/2015 – 6/2016)
Metro

Before the extension, average weekday Expo Line ridership was somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 passengers per day. Those numbers start to climb in May, when the Expo Line added seven new stops. In the first month of the extension, 39,237 people, on average, were taking weekday trips. In June, the first full month of operation for the newly expanded Expo Line, average weekday ridership again rose to 45,876.

And, it’s not just commuters taking the train. Weekend travel on the Expo Line is up, too. Before the extension, the Expo Line was averaging somewhere between 21,000 and 23,000 passengers on Saturdays. In June, that number jumped up to 34,844.

But the biggest gain is in Sunday ridership. In April, there were just 15,965 Sunday riders, but after the extension, that figure shot up significantly to an average of 35,995 in June.

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