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New Expo Line stations see 12,000 trips on first commute day

FILE: A train travels west of Bundy in Santa Monica along the new Expo Line extension on May 6, 2016.
FILE: A train travels west of Bundy in Santa Monica along the new Expo Line extension on May 6, 2016.
Steve Hymon/Los Angeles Metro

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The newly completed Expo Line rolled through its first full business day Monday with the seven new stations generating 12,000 trips, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority data.

Despite a slow start after a car crash on the tracks in the early morning hours, thousands of commuters hopped aboard Monday.

"It's great," said Norwood Cheek, who works as a film editor in West Los Angeles and has grown increasingly frustrated with his daily commute in his car from Silver Lake.

He rode his bike to reach the Red Line Subway and transferred to the Expo Line, a journey that he said took him just over an hour.

"It's about the same amount of time, I get some exercise, and I don’t have the stress of driving," he said.

The downtown Santa Monica station saw the most traffic with about half of the boardings, according to Metro based on use of TAP transit cards:

• Downtown Santa Monica: 5,982 TAP entries

• 17th St/SMC: 1,020 TAP entries

• 26th St/Bergamot: 853 TAP entries

• Expo/Bundy: 1,376 TAP entries

• Expo/Sepulveda: 1,150 TAP entries

• Westwood/Rancho Park: 661 TAP entries

• Palms: 1,016 TAP entries

It's not yet clear how many new rides were generated by the just-opened rail section as Metro has not yet published the tally for the full line.

Before the extension, the Expo Line saw an average of 29,000 rides a day. Officials project ridership to double on the line by 2030.

The Gold Line extension to Azusa, which opened in March, has added about 8,000 trips a day to that line.

Metro is counting on continued boosts from the new rail openings as ridership has dipped on buses and trains over the last year and a half.