Local

Metro promises Expo line crowding relief coming soon

The Expo Line extension has proven so popular that riders complain of overcrowding on the trains between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica.
The Expo Line extension has proven so popular that riders complain of overcrowding on the trains between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Listen to story

00:59
Download this story 0MB

Passengers battling the crowds on the Expo Line could see some relief soon, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

Metro has been dealing with a train car shortage on the Expo Line due to manufacturing delays at its factory in Palmdale.

The delays have contributed to overcrowding on the popular train to the beach, which has seen weekday boardings jump by nearly 50 percent since the extension opened in May. Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo assures riders that will soon change.

"We’re gonna try by December to reduce the waiting time and have more train cars," he said.

Metro has been getting about four new light rail vehicles every month from the Kinkisharyo plant, which builds its light rail cars, and the agency plans to use that extra capacity to double the frequency of the trains.

By year's end, Expo will run 18 two-car trains every six minutes all day until 8 p.m. when they will run every 12 minutes. 

Under Metro's current plan, train lengths will not be extended, but adding a third car to those 18 trains could be possible if Metro finds the extra cars are necessary because of crowding. All of the Expo Line stations are built to accommodate three cars and the Expo rail yard in Santa Monica can accommodate 54 vehicles, or 18 three-car trains.

But adding more cars may not provide permanent relief from crowded trains. One expert says that adding trains and relieving crowding may encourage more people to ride the trains, and the problem returns.

Metro is also considering adjustments to the Expo timetable. It's been taking most trains longer to travel between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles than the 47 minutes first advertised.