Trying out the new METRO Expo Line

Last week, I took the new Metro Expo line extension from Santa Monica (17th Street/St SMC) to Downtown LA. It was an easy ride and I sat at the window taking it all in – or so I thought.

On the way home, I saw entirely new sights and a tonne of street art that I hadn’t noticed on my way in.  At a certain point, I realized that I hadn’t changed trains and was now in Long Beach, 30+ miles in the wrong direction!

During my journeys, I noticed a few bits and bobs:

1) Whichever direction you head, the station artwork is great. Like in London, each station has a different theme, from musical mosaics to fashion murals to funny seats that look they have wads of chewed gum stuck to them.


An example of one of the types of art at the Metro stations
An example of one of the types of art at the Metro stations

2) A not so positive observation was how exposed the tracks are. In my haste to catch the train, I nearly ran over them.  There are no barriers to prevent someone from doing so.  One of the benefits of this additional public transport is the hope people will use it rather than drink and drive.  The way these tracks are laid out is begging for face-first stumbles or worse.


The two lines either side of the "train sign" are the train tracks
The two lines either side of the “train sign” are the train tracks

3) Londoners please note that, unlike the “Oyster” card, you don’t need to tap out when you’ve reached your destination and you’re leaving the station.  You just push the turnstile to exit.  I made the mistake of trying to “tap out” and then pushing the turnstile.  $1.75 down the drain.

4) There are signs on the trains and platforms that ban you from eating or drinking.  The METRO website advises that this ban is enforced to try and keep and the stations clean. We have something similar on the underground when it comes to “smelly” food but you can still eat.  Seems a bit extreme to me.

So, recommendations!  For some interesting facts about the lines first day, this article by LA Curbed is good.  12,000 people rode the new line extension last Monday.  However, there were a few hiccups…

I loved this short video.  It features a guy named Alan, a retired METRO employee who was on the last Red Car Train to Santa Monica in 1953.  This video shows him trying out the new line before it was open to the public.  Alan’s happiness about the new line and the bitesize history about the old line.

Lastly, I wanted to mention that there is going to be an open street event this weekend on Sunday, called COAST in Santa Monica.  COAST will be celebrating mobility and commemorates the new additions to the Expo line.

Date:  June 5th

Starts:  9:00 am

Ends: 3:00 pm

Location:  Santa Monica

The event is free and would make a great family outing.  This is Santa Monica’s first open streets event. The idea is to make your way to the coast and then the COAST route takes you mainly along Ocean, Colorado and Main Street through to Downtown Santa Monica.  Local businesses will be participating and Breeze bike share will be free that day.  There will be two miles of car-free streets and you will be able to discover local food, shops, music, games and dance along the way.

xoxo Jessica

A snap from my unexpected jaunt to Long Beach
A snap from my unexpected jaunt to Long Beach
Information about COAST
Information about COAST

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  1. How wonderful that this line is finally up and going. It’s great that you can get all the way to Long Beach from SM that is, when you want to go there. Loved your post especially pointing out the classy station artwork. Thank you!

    1. I know! Sounds like it’s been a long time in the making. I was thinking of collating all the different artwork and maybe doing a post about that in the future. Thank you so much for reading 🙂

  2. My husband rode the Metro from Hollywood to Santa Monica on the afternoon it opened, so he had to contend with the line transfer mid-way, but overall had a positive opinion. I’ll definitely make use of it, especially for boozy brunches on the Westside. What’s frustrating for me about public transportation in LA is that the route lines don’t seem very efficient and it takes an hour plus to go the 8 miles from our apartment to Santa Monica. Ah well, beggars can’t be choosers. At least it’s progress! My husband has also ended up in Long Beach by accident by the way, so apparently it’s pretty easy to do : ).

    1. Oh really! I am so jealous of your husband. I was so keen to take a ride on open day! Hopefully now that we know about the line transfer we won’t have any trouble with it going forward. Unfortunately, I would have to agree with you about the line not being as efficient as it could be. They need additional stops as well, I had to walk 20+ minutes to get to the SM station and then the same once downtown. Some tube stops in London are so close to each other it’s faster to walk rather than go down the escalator and get on the tube! As for Long Beach… I was rather relieved to hear the same happened to you. I felt SO silly when I realised what I had happened. Thank you for sharing that, made my day!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this one! It’s fun seeing your city through a newbie’s eyes. I would get a kick out of it when I was in London. If and when you take the Metro I’ll be interested to hear what you think 🙂 xx