Ridership Booming on A and E (Expo) Line a Year After Regional Connector Opens


Metro’s most recent ridership reports that ridership growth on the A and E light rail lines (formerly the Blue Line and Expo Line respectively) has been so robust after the opening of the Regional Connector last year, that both lines are experiencing higher ridership than before the pandemic on weekends.

Average ridership on the A and E Lines is up 31 percent year-over-year when compared to the A, E, and L line configuration before the Regional Connector project was completed last year. 

Saturday ridership in May 2024 on A and E Lines was 0.9 percent higher than Saturday ridership on the A, E, and L Line configuration in 2019. Sunday ridership in May 2024 on the A and E Lines was 5.9 percent higher than Sunday ridership on the A, E, and L Lines in May 2019.

The 1.9-mile regional connector rail link improves connections by bringing together the Metro A, E, L (Gold), B (Red) and D (Purple) lines at the 7th Street/Metro Center Station. The new A and E lines share five downtown Los Angeles stations giving travelers new transfer options connecting Santa Monica and the Westside to Downtown, Little Tokyo, Boyle Heights and beyond.

The growth on the A and E lines are leading a system-wide rally as transit continues to rebound from the pandemic. Metro achieved 27,170,160 boardings on its bus and rail services in May. Metro carried an average of 980,865 boardings each weekday, an 8.2 percent increase over last May and the 18th-straight month of year-over-year ridership increases.

Additionally, average weekend ridership in May saw a 7 percent increase in boardings over May 2023 as more people took Metro to special events and leisure activities, with Saturday boardings at 2,706,120 and Sunday boardings at 2,885,010. In May, weekday ridership for bus and rail was at 81.1 percent of the level it was before the pandemic in May 2019. Weekend ridership in May reached 95.9 percent of the pre-pandemic level from May 2019.

In related news, a study by USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research shows that a shocking 84% of Los Angeles County residents view riding Metro as “unsafe” as incidents of crime rose throughout the pandemic. Interestingly, the perception that Metro is unsafe seems somewhat dependent on whether or not someone actually rides Metro bus and rail. The more frequently one rides transit, the more likely one is to find the transit services safe.

However, Metro is taking the perception of danger seriously. Last month, they unveiled a plan to “flood” transit lines with increased police presence. At the same time, the “Metro Ambassador” program is thriving with ambassadors having recorded their “1 millionth interaction” last month.

Damien Newton
Damien Newton
Damien is the executive director of the Southern California Streets Initiative which publishes Santa Monica Next, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog San Francisco, Streetsblog California and Longbeachize.

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