Local dignitaries gathered in Exposition Park on Friday to celebrate the opening of the Expo Line. Trains start running Saturday between downtown Los Angeles and the Westside.
The USC marching band greeted L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and others as trains carried them to a station near the Rose Garden.
“The construction and operation of this line supports nearly 14,000 jobs and provides a much needed benefit to the community it serves," Villaraigosa said.
The nearly $300 million first phase of the Expo Line will run from the downtown 7th Street/Metro Center Station west to La Cienega and Jefferson near Culver City.
Trains will carry passengers along this route for the first time in half a century. L.A. County supervisor and Metro Board member Mark Ridley-Thomas connected this weekend’s opening to another historic event.
“While we mark the 20th anniversary of what is known as a civil unrest, we have reason to celebrate," he said, "because a huge investment has been made in this part of the city and county of Los Angeles.”
The project has had some glitches. There were at least three crashes during the test phase, as well as a problem with the train’s automatic braking system, sources told KPCC.
Transit authorities reportedly fixed the problem on Thursday. California's Pubic Utilities Commission has said that the system is safe.
Authorities expect to open an extended segment of the line going into Culver City this summer. They plan to finish the route to Santa Monica within a few years.
In the meantime, you can ride the new Expo Line for free all weekend.