Metro to Restore Blue/Expo 6-Minute Headways, Extend Flower Bus Lane Through March 2020

Washington Blue Line Station  shuttered during New Blue rehabilitation. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Washington Blue Line Station shuttered during New Blue rehabilitation. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

At this morning’s Metro board Operations Committee, the agency announced increased Expo and Blue Line (now the A Line) service. When the Blue/A Line reopens in early November, Metro will restore peak-hour six-minute headways, which should minimize the line’s recent overcrowding.

Metro’s “New Blue” rehabilitation construction has had portions of the Blue/A Line closed since late January. While construction is still underway, especially at Rosa Parks / Willowbrook station, the A Line is now scheduled to re-open on Saturday November 2.

Metro will host three A Line opening celebrations – all from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday 11/2:

For three days, Saturday through Monday, Metro will offer free A Line rides.

Rosa Parks Station Construction will not be complete on November 2. Metro expects to have the platform complete, as well as the rebuilt connection to the Green Line, but Metro expects that riders will still experience walking through a construction zone. The Rosa Parks Station new buildings and plaza are anticipated to open in December. Construction there is projected to continue through Summer 2020, when new bus bays and drop-off areas will be complete.

Metro had planned to cut A Line service, but today announced that trains will run with six-minute headways, the same service that was in effect when the Blue Line closures got underway. Metro will run six-minute headways on both the Expo and A Lines. Peak hour A Line trains will be 25 percent two-car trains, and 75 percent three-car trains. All peak hour trains will run the entire line from downtown L.A. to downtown Long Beach. Metro CEO Phil Washington has announced that new A Line end-to-end run times are expected to be seven minutes faster than before, with better reliability. Added 10/17 4 p.m. Note that the new A Line schedule shows a five-minute improvement. Since at least 2013, the Blue Line end-to-end travel time has been 58 minutes. The A Line is scheduled to make these trips in 53 minutes.

New blue bus shuttles precipitated the Flower Street peak-hour bus-only lane. Today Metro staff reported that, during the height of New Blue and Expo Line closures, the bus lane carried up to 80 buses hourly – a bus every 45 seconds. Metro has been reviewing outcomes of the Flower bus lane, finding that it has improved travel times and reliability.

Metro staff announced that the Flower Street lane will be extended through March 2020. In addition, Metro is working to relocate some bus stops and extend some bus stop zones to reduce conflicts. Staff stressed the need for ongoing enforcement, which has been an important factor in current successes.

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