The Los Angeles Metro system is set to offer free rides on Friday and Saturday, May 20-21, as part of the grand opening of the Expo Line extension to Santa Monica, informally known as "Expo 2."
The free rides will be available on the entire Expo Line, not just the new extension, Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo told KPCC. The free rides begin at noon May 20 and last until close of service each day.
"It's part of Metro traditions that when we open a ... rail line, a new one, we celebrate with the community the beginning of service, the end of construction," Ubaldo said. "It's a celebration to tell the public this is what we've been doing, and this is the new service that you're going to be enjoying from now on."
The extension now makes it possible for you to take Metro all the way out to two to three blocks from the Santa Monica Pier, according to Ubaldo, which means that you can now reach the beach via Metro from anywhere in Los Angeles County.
Ubaldo praised the Measure R sales tax for making the Expo Line extension possible.
"We hope the public can join us at the celebrations," Ubaldo said. "We'll have a good time and [they'll] see what their money does when they help us like with Measure R, because these projects are funded by Measure R, and we can do a lot of work with these measures."
There will be celebrations at five of the new stations on May 21 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., as well as celebrations at the Culver City Station that's been open for several years, Ubaldo said. Those celebrations are set to include food trucks, entertainment, children's activities, bike valet and bike-pit stops, Metro information booths and more.
The new stations celebrating:
- Downtown Santa Monica
- 17th Street/Santa Monica College
- 26th Street/Bergamot
The Expo Line has seven new stations. Along with those celebrating, there are also two other new stations: Westwood/Rancho Park and Expo/Sepulveda.
"We encourage the community to enjoy this new light-rail line service and see for themselves how close to the beach Metro can get you," Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said in a press release.
The 6.6-mile light rail project cost $1.5 billion, with the whole 15.5-mile line extending from downtown L.A. to downtown Santa Monica. Each of the new stations features original art, Ubaldo said.
The Expo/Sepulveda, Expo/Bundy and 17th Street/Santa Monica College stations will all have park-and-ride facilities. The new parking policy includes monthly permits for some spaces, which Ubaldo said would be available for "low prices." He also said they expect the new park-and-ride facilities to be "very successful."
There's also a paved bike path along most of the way between Culver City and the 17th Street/Santa Monica College Station. Each station also has secure bike racks and lockers.