USC students have expressed disappointment after the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials announced Jan. 9 that they have just now entered the final phase of testing for a portion of the new Expo Line, which has stations running near USC.
Brad Sutton, a senior majoring in architecture, said the Expo Line would have been convenient for his summer job in Venice Beach.
“I worked in Venice last summer and the [Expo Line] would have been perfect,” Sutton said. “I won’t be able to take advantage of [the Expo Line] but it will be nice for students to use it to go to the beach or Culver City and not have to drive.”
This announcement comes after the discovery of technical problems with the line during the previous testing period in September and October. In one situation, trains were unable to pass through a junction where the Blue Line meets the Expo Line because of a signaling malfunction. In addition, MTA encountered ventilation problems in a trench near USC where two trains are meant to run underground.
These set backs have been resolved, but the testing period has been extended, MTA spokesperson Rick Jager said.
“We want to ensure the system is safe and reliable before we open it up to the public,” Jager said.
He said that within the next few months, MTA will run trains on the Expo Line from Downtown Los Angeles to Culver City. Though no official date has been set for the line to open, phase one of the line will be complete early this year.
USC Director of Transportation Tony Mazza said MTA sends out regular notices to university officials about ongoing testing. MTA has also provided safety ambassadors at areas where the Expo Line runs near the university to ensure that no cars or people accidentally enter the track.
Mazza said USC Transportation will suspend operation of the LA Live Shuttle once the Expo Line opens but will continue to offer the shuttle system off campus, on campus, and between campus and Union Station.
Nastassia Andari, a graduate student studying global communication, said if the Expo Line proved to be cost saving, she would take advantage of the Expo Line.
“If there was something available that would be more cost-effective, I would be open to that.” Andari said. “I wasn’t expecting the Metro would be opening and running by the time I was [still] living here.”