About 100 or so Angelenos milled around booths set up near the Expo Park/USC stop before hopping on board the newly operational line.
Despite some grumbles over the last few months about a two-year delay and unforeseen $200 million in additional expenses, those in attendance Saturday were for the most part just glad to see Phase 1 of the Expo Light Rail project complete.
David Roberts, director of local government relations at USC, stood on the platform at Expo Park, waiting patiently to depart for La Cienega Boulevard. “I love the commute from Downtown in my car,” he said, “but this is going to be a great alternative to just jump on the train and be here on campus in 10 minutes.”
Roberts said connectivity was the biggest draw for him—enough of an allure to bring him back to campus on a day off. “It’s really making the commute and the connections here in Los Angeles much more convenient for people.”
Undermining the opening weekend’s fanfare is the fact that the line is still technically a work in progress. Phase 1 includes just 8.6 miles of track—one mile of which will be added when the delayed Farmdale and Culver City stations open this summer. The stretch from Downtown to Culver City came with a $930-million price tag.
Phase 2, a 6.6-mile extension of the line to Santa Monica, broke ground in September of last year. Using funds from Measure R’s half-cent sales tax, the extension will cost about $1.5 billion, expected to be finished sometime in 2016.