After dropping off my bag for safe storage at Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge, which is located on the second floor of Los Angeles Union Station, I headed down to the Red/Purple Line platform to buy a oneway fare on my Tap Card. Except for buses, where you can still pay cash, Metro Rail requires that you have a Tap Card, which will cost you $1.00 at the fare vending machine. Since I already have a Tap Card, I reloaded my Tap Card for $1.75 which is the oneway fare using a $5.00 dollar bill and gave the change to the homeless man standing near the turnstile asking for some help.
I tapped by Tap Card on the reader and proceeded down to the Red/Purple Line platform. Just as I approached the platform via the escalator, a train pulled into the station which I boarded. Since I was getting off at 7th St and Metro Center station, It did not matter wether I take the Red or Purple Line Train. Stations between Union Station and Wilshire/Vermont are both served by the Red and Purple Line Trains. When my friend and I took the Purple Line couple of months ago, he sat on one of the seats which turned out to be wet with some mysterious liquid. Ever since then, I have preferred to stand when taking the Red or Purple Line Train.
Three stations later, I got off at 7th St and Metro Center station and headed upstairs to transfer onto Metro’s Expo Line. The Expo Line is the light rail line with its final destination in Downtown Santa Monica. Phase 2 from Culver City to Santa Monica opened last year and today is my first time riding the Expo Line. On the platform, I come to find out from the information display that the Expo Line is only running to Culver City today due to warranty related construction on phase 2 construction between Culver City and Santa Monica. Lucy for me, Culver City is my destination so no need for me to worry about getting on the alternative bus bridge being operated by Metro.
Both the Blue Line to Long Beach and the Expo Line to Santa Monica board from the same platform, so one needs to be vigilant on which train that one gets on. Currently, Metro is working on the Regional Connector Project in Downtown Los Angeles which when completed will connect the Gold Line with the Blue and Expo Lines. The project also includes three new stations in Downtown Los Angeles and once the project is completed, the three current light rail lines will be realigned to run North – South and East – West alignment. Northern part of the Gold Line and southern portion of the Blue Line will become the north/south line, and the Expo Line and the eastern portion of the Gold Line will become the east/west line.
The Expo Line Train pulled up to the platform and I boarded around middle of the consist. You can definitely tell that this line received new light rail cars after phase 2 opening. The Expo Line Train I was on was bright, well air conditioned and looked brand new. The seats looked new and clean so I sat down for the trip to Culver City. I am not sure how long the cars will remain looking new, but under Measure M which passed last year, Metro will be setting aside money for maintenance and to keep all of the system in SOGR. Hopefully that budget includes money for keeping the interior of the train cars clean.
Until today, I actually had no idea that anyone could take Metro Rail to the Convention Center or LA Live. Pico Station is located between the Staples Center and the Convention Center right across the street from both. Both the Blue Line and the Expo Line both make stops at Pico Station. Knowing this, I will probably take Metro Rail the next time I have to be down at the Convention Center or LA Live.
After a comfortable and uneventful ride, our Expo Line Train arrived at Culver City Station. Many people aboard the train were still unaware that Culver City was the end of the line due to construction until a Metro Employee boarded the train making announcements that the train was returning back to Los Angeles. On the platform, Metro had many Employees working today directing affected passengers to the correct bus bridge to their final destination.
Culver City Station has a pickup roundabout where cars can pick you up. My brother picked me up at the roundabout and we drove to his apartment to wait for my parents to arrive from their house.