Could State Budget Cuts Derail Late Night Train Service?


Photo via Metro Rider Who "Announced" Late Night Trains on April 1

A lot has been made about a proposal by the Los Angeles City Council to run late night trains until 3 A.M. in the morning between November 1 and January 1 on Metro’s Red Line.  While the proposal has earned praise in many quarters, the City Council has no authority over Metro, and with the Metro Board’s Subcommittee’s having met this week with no resolution on late night train service proposed or moved to the full Board, it seems unlikely that such a service could come online by November 1. 

After next week, there is only one Board Meeting scheduled before November 1, the date the City Council suggested as the first day of the train service.

However, even in the Metro Board were resolved to bring late night trains online.  Metro spokesperson Marc Littman pointed out over email with Streetsblog that while there has been talk of some public funding to run the trains, Metro would also have to run buses to support the increased train service.

You may remember that earlier this year it took months of advocacy and some creative budgeting by Mayor Villaraigosa to keep Metro from slashing existing late night bus service.  While it may not seem like a lot of money to run more buses, estimates vary between $4,000 and $5,000 an evening, Metro seems to be in a perpetual budget crunch and the legislator and governor appear poised to balance the budget on the back of transit agencies.

Unless someone can come up with another $250,000 fast, the dream of late night bus and train service will probably remain unfullfilled.

  • You don’t necessarily need to extend all bus service. Most lines in the area already run owl service, or shut down well before midnight; the only line that might not is the 2-Sunset which stops around 2 a.m. Running a single subway line under 3 a.m. while shutting down the rest of the system (including the Blue Line) is probably not the greatest idea in the world, but to extend bus service on 20 different lines for the subway isn’t the answer either. In fact, with the subway running late, you could cancel certain bus routes, like the 656, which is the Cahuenga Pass shuttle during the overnight.

  • cph

    Would the extra buses needed include the Metro Orange Line?

  • Marcotico

    Overall I actually like Metro. I know some people who work there and they have a lot of integrity, and try to get good project done. One of the things I really do fault them for is trying to do too much, too quickly. I mean the half cent gas tax just hit the radar a few months ago, so they had to scramble to pull together diverse constituencies, instead of you know “planning” it.

    This sounds like the same thing, a great idea that probably should have been planned since January of last year. As anyone who has ever worked at a public transportation agency knows it can take 6 months just to get a work plan for something like this through all the committees and boards it needs to, and that is assuming no major challenges along the way.

    Stop teasing us, crasy Metro!