In its FY2020 budget, Metro cut peak service by 25 percent on the Expo Line. Recently there are numerous social media posts saying that Expo trains are now “insanely crowded” with “wall to wall bodies” “packed like sardines.”
Metro rail service cuts took effect June 23. Blue and Expo Line peak weekday headways increased from six to eight minutes. Gold Line peak weekday headways increased from seven to eight minutes. Weekend morning rail service was also cut. Overall, the Metro FY2020 budget has a nearly six percent cut to rail service.
For the first nearly two months of the new fiscal year, two shared Expo/Blue Line downtown L.A. stations were closed due to the “New Blue” refurbishment of the Blue Line. These closures have depressed rail ridership. Since the Expo Line fully reopened on August 24, social media has been abuzz with accounts of overcrowded Expo trains.
During the FY2020 budget discussions, some boardmembers questioned the proposed rail service cuts. Metro operations staff have portrayed cuts as right-sizing rail service to match declining ridership. They also asserted (starting at minute 1:17) that they would monitor ridership, continuously evaluate, and where trains experience overloads, they would add extra capacity, including possibly relatively-quick temporary changes to schedules.
At the request of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Metro operations staff will report back quarterly to the board Operations Committee on the impact of rail service reductions. The Operations Committee will meet next at 9 a.m. on Thursday September 19. The public can show up to these meetings to give input on Metro operational concerns, including overcrowding.