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LA Metro's Expo Line draws partiers downtown for growing social scene

Expo LIne Pico Station

Sharon McNary

An Expo Line train heads out of Pico Station near Downtown Los Angeles toward Culver City.

Expo Line at Farmdale Station

Sharon McNary/KPCC

The Expo Line train leaves the Farmdale Station heading into Downtown Los Angeles.

Expo Line riders head for fun at L.A. Live

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Vanessa Pineda points at Carlos Venegas whose birthday the group of friends is celebrating at L.A. Live. They came in from El Monte on the Expo Line.

For the first time, the New Year's Eve crowd at L.A. Live will include partiers who rode in on the Metro Expo Line. Since the light rail line opened in April, it's pumped crowds into entertainment spots in downtown Los Angeles.

Many get off at the street-level platform of the Expo Line Pico Station, just a block from the restaurants, theaters and shops of L.A. Live. Every few minutes families, couples, groups of buddies step off the train, cross Figueroa Street and head in the direction of Staples Center.

A few days after Christmas, the crowd included Vanessa Pineda, who brought seven friends from El Monte. Their combined bus and train fare was about $30.

"We're gonna go ice skating," she said. "We took the Silver Line 910 from the El Monte Station all the way to the Expo Line from the train and we got off on Pico."