Metro Los Angeles’ proposed budget for this upcoming fiscal year includes a swath of service cuts that could affect riders on the Blue, Expo, and Gold lines.
Set to be approved before and enacted by July of this year, Metro will look to cut service during peak hours and weekends on all three trains: While the Gold Line arrives every seven minutes during peak times and the Expo and Blue Line arrive every six minutes, trains will instead arrive every eight minutes. On the weekends, instead of arriving every 12 minutes beginning at 8 a.m., trains will arrive every 20 minutes.
Rick Jager of Metro claims that the changes in service will allow for “more reliable service all around” as “too many trains operating at once creates traffic issues” on both surface streets and train tracks, especially during portions like the Blue Line’s Long Beach stretch where trains have to face intersection lights.
The news comes at a difficult time for both Metro and its riders: Metro has faced year after year of a declining ridership; though there has yet to be a definitive answer as to why, experts have pointed to changes to immigration policy, competition from Uber and Lyft, and more people buying cars. Meanwhile, riders using Metro’s services have faced aging railways and constant alterations; the Blue Line is undergoing a massive-but-needed overhaul that has effectively closed the line for eight months.
On top of this, the agency hopes to cut some 75,000 hours across its high-frequency lines while increasing special service deployments in order to meet ridership demand for transportation to and from such events as USC games, Dodger games, and more.
If there is good news to be had, it is the fact that Metro is involved in multiple major projects, including its massive Purple Line extension, the Crenshaw/LAX connector expected to open mid-2020, and the Regional Connector.
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