Phillip A. Washington, Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

People Post is a space for opinion pieces, letters to the editor and guest submissions from members of the Long Beach community. The following is an op-ed submitted by Phillip A. Washington, Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Long Beach Post.

To our A Line riders, I want to personally thank you for returning to the A Line after 10 months of hard work to modernize our oldest light rail line connecting Downtown L.A. and Long Beach.

I also want to thank you for your patience during construction and apologize for delays to A Line service since we fully restored train service on Nov. 2.

A sober assessment of our relaunch reveals that 99 percent of our intensive renovation work was successful. But, unfortunately, as with any transportation service restoration of this magnitude, we have experienced some startup hiccups with our new systems and service plan that we are now working aggressively to resolve.

It’s like learning a new dance as Metro train operators and controllers adjust to the different service plan. We’ll keep working at it. The good news is our service has improved over the last few days. We firmly believe it will continue to get better in the coming days and weeks.

I’d like you to know that implementing our “New Blue” project as it was initially envisioned would have required frequent closures and delays over a multi-year period. Fortunately, we elected to do all the work in 2019 to minimize inconvenience to you, our rider, as much as possible.

We have accomplished a lot to keep this rail line in a state of good repair. Many old systems were replaced which will help prevent train delays. While these upgrades should help us minimize frustrating delays, riders should recognize that there are a lot of factors that can affect our train schedules, including competing car traffic, accidents, emergencies and police activities. We are working through them.

In regard to travel times, we are working with the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach to prioritize train service through intersections which, when completed, should yield additional travel time benefits.

The city of Los Angeles, for example, has recently made efforts to give our trains signal priority in portions of the Downtown L.A. area. That’s a positive and welcome development.

We are also now running twice the number of trains through Long Beach than we did prior to our service closures. There are many more trains navigating the single-track Downtown Long Beach Loop for our Long Beach customers.

I’d like to emphasize that Metro strives for excellence in service and support and we seek to continuously improve our system for you, our loyal customers. Moving forward, please continue to give us your honest, forthright input to help us provide the best possible rail service for this vital rail corridor.