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Metro to Restore and Increase Light Rail Service on December 10

Metro A and E Line light rail peak hour frequency will increase to every 8 minutes from every 10 minutes. Plus, Metro is adding more midday, weekend, and late night trains on its A, C, E, and K Lines.

1:21 PM PST on November 7, 2023

More frequent trains are coming to the Metro A, C, E, and K Lines next month. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog

On Sunday, December 10, as part of its twice-yearly service shake-up, Metro will add more frequent service on the A, C, E, and K Lines. Under the old nomenclature, that would be the Blue/Gold, Green, Gold/Expo, and Crenshaw/LAX Lines respectively.

Metro riders will see:

  • Metro A and E Line peak hour frequency increase to every 8 minutes (was every 10). Weekday midday and weekend trains will run every 10 minutes (was every 12). Two added runs restore some late night service.
  • Metro C Line midday and weekend trains increase to every 10 minutes (was every 12).
  • Metro K Line peak hour frequency increase to every 10 minutes (was every 12).

Back in September, Metro announced plans to increase light rail service in December. This week, Metro shared a presentation with the December shake-up details. (Thanks to Twitter user @numble for spotting and sharing this.)

Summary of Metro's planned December 10 service changes - via Metro presentation
Summary of Metro December rail service increase - via Metro presentation

The December service increase will essentially complete the restoration of service cut in 2020, at the outset of the pandemic. Comparing 2023 to 2020 is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, as Metro implemented NextGen bus service changes and opened new light rail. Also, budgeted and scheduled hours don't translate directly and exactly into service on the ground. But, overall, Metro is back!

Metro restored heavy rail (B, D) subway service in September. Metro fully restored bus service in December 2022, then struggled somewhat making that service reliable, and gradually achieved solid full service by mid-2023.

The agency's recent service increases have been a primary factor in sustained transit ridership growth throughout 2023. Metro has posted year-to-year ridership increases every month this year.

Metro weekday ridership graph shows pandemic era ridership records throughout 2023 - via Metro October presentation. Overall, recent Metro transit ridership is 80-85 percent of pre-pandemic level.

September was the first COVID-era month when Metro surpassed 900,000 average daily weekday riders. Overall totals are just above 80 percent of pre-COVID ridership.

Metro bus ridership surpassed 80 percent of pre-COVID (bus declined less than rail, and recovered faster). Rail ridership is currently about two-thirds of pre-COVID (significantly up from 51 percent reported in March).

Metro points to positive trends: high weekend ridership, increased use of student (GoPass) and low-income (LIFE) programs. Slide via October CEO presentation.

At last month's board meeting, Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins praised her agency's "ten month hot streak" of ridership growth. She noted significant growth in weekend ridership, which saw 89 percent of pre-pandemic ridership as of September.

Next month's light rail service increases should further bolster the positive trends.

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