Testing of the new Exposition Line, a light rail line that will run down Exposition Boulevard, around the USC campus and eventually reach Santa Monica, is set to begin in April, Metro officials announced this month.
The test will begin on Exposition Boulevard. A truck with train wheels will run the line, and this will continue for several months and subsequently lead to opening the line to the public.
The Metro Expo Line will be completed by November, according to Metro officials. The line, which will begin at 7th Street and Figueroa Street, will travel to Culver City and provide an alternative public transportation option for USC students, faculty and members of the surrounding community.
The line was supposed to be completed by Summer 2010, but was pushed back because of logistical issues in Culver City such as difficulty in installing platforms.
Metro officials and USC transportation officials met last Tuesday to discuss the status of the project, and Anthony Mazza, director of USC Transportation, said both parties are confident the completion date of November 2011 will be achieved.
“When you have conversations with Metro, nothing is set in stone,” Mazza said. “But I think they are excited about it being in November, as well, and are just as disappointed that it was delayed.”
Mazza said USC has been in talks with Metro about safety near the intersection of 7th and Figeuroa, where the line will start.
The station at 7th and Figueroa is the transfer station downtown where the Metro rail lines and the Expo line meet.
“We’ve solicited a lot of help with people who have had experience in the past with Metro to assist us in safety aspects for the crossing from 7th and Figueroa,” Mazza said.
The light rail will run at times when the USC shuttle that travels to the Health Sciences Campus, University Park Campus and Union Station does not. Moreover, the light rail will allow students to easily access downtown Los Angeles.
“I do think that the light rail is going to give students a great opportunity to visit downtown in a very inexpensive, safe manner,” Mazza said. “I think at the same time, it will give students a chance to go up to Culver City, which is a nice area to explore. It’ll be a great addition for USC.”
According to the Exposition Line website, officials predict that by the year 2030, more than 64,000 passengers will be riding the Expo Line daily.
Students have expressed excitement about the rail line.
Alexander Blow, an undeclared freshman, said he feels the line will be beneficial if gas prices continue to rise.
“I would totally use [the Expo Line],” Blow said. “It will be beneficial to those who don’t have a car and can’t afford gas prices.”
Sidhant Gandhi, a freshman majoring in business administration, said that he was excited for more flexible hours, as well as cheap fare.
“The price is a solid point to me,” Gandhi said. “Yeah, there are shuttles that go to L.A. Live, but that’s only on the weekends. The line will provide alternatives.”