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Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

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Title: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Union Station (Los Angeles), Purple Line Extension, Blue Line (Los Angeles Metro), Purple Line (Los Angeles Metro), Crenshaw/LAX Line
Collection: 1993 Establishments in California, Bus Transportation in California, County Government Agencies in California, Intermodal Transportation Authorities in California, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Passenger Rail Transportation in California, Public Transportation in Los Angeles County, California, Public Transportation in Los Angeles, California, Public Transportation in the San Fernando Valley, Transit Authorities with Hybrid Buses, Transit Authorities with Natural Gas Buses, Transportation in Los Angeles, California, Transportation in the San Fernando Valley
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Four Metro-operated modes of service.
Locale Los Angeles County, California
Transit type Rapid transit (subway)
Light rail
Bus rapid transit
Number of lines Heavy rail: 2
Light rail: 4
Bus rapid transit: 2
Bus: 170
Number of stations Rail: 80
Bus rapid transit: 23
Daily ridership 1,352,499 (December 2014; avg. weekday boardings)[1]
Chief executive Phillip Washington[2]
Began operation April 1, 1993[3]
System length Rail: 87.8 miles (141.3 km)
Bus: 1,433 miles (2,306 km)

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (branded as Metro; formerly branded as MTA or LACMTA) is the public transportation operating agency for the County of Los Angeles formed in 1993 out of a merger of the Southern California Rapid Transit District and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission. It is chartered under state law as a regional transportation planning agency (RTPA).

Metro directly operates bus, light rail, heavy rail, and bus rapid transit services. It provides funding and directs planning for commuter rail and freeway/expressway projects within Los Angeles County.


  • Overview 1
  • Services 2
    • Metro Rail 2.1
    • Metro Liner 2.2
    • Metro Bus 2.3
    • Transitways 2.4
    • Other services 2.5
  • Fares 3
  • Ridership 4
  • Governance 5
  • Funding 6
  • Fleet 7
  • Bicycle transportation planning 8
  • History 9
  • Future 10
  • Photo gallery 11
  • In popular culture 12
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15


The agency develops and oversees transportation plans, policies, funding programs, and both short-term and long-range solutions that address the county's increasing mobility, accessibility and environmental needs. The agency is also the primary transit provider for the City of Los Angeles providing the bulk of such services while the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) operates a much smaller system of its own Commuter Express bus service to outlying suburbs in the city of Los Angeles and the popular DASH (Downtown Area Short Hop) mini-bus service in downtown and other neighborhoods in the city of Los Angeles. Metro has its headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.[4]

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates the third-largest public transportation system in the United States by ridership with a 1,433 mi² (3,711 km²) operating area and 2,000 peak hour buses on the street any given business day.[5] Metro also designed, built and now operates 87.8 miles (141.3 km) of urban rail service.[6] The authority has 9,200 employees, making it one of the region's largest employers.

The authority also partially funds sixteen municipal bus operators and a wide array of transportation projects including bikeways and pedestrian facilities, local roads and highway improvements, goods movement, Metrolink regional commuter rail, Freeway Service Patrol and freeway call boxes within the greater metropolitan Los Angeles region.

Security and law enforcement services on Metro property (including buses and trains) are currently provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Transit Services Bureau via contract, in conjunction with Metro's Transit Security department. Between 2003 and 2008 Part I crimes have decreased 29.4% on Metro rails and 10% on the Metro buses.

In 2006, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority was named Outstanding Transportation System for 2006 by the American Public Transportation Association. Most buses and trains have "America's Best" decals affixed.[7]


Metro Rail

Metro Rail and Metro Liner system map

Metro Rail is Los Angeles County's rail mass transit system with two subway and four light rail lines. The system runs a total of 87.8 miles (139.7 km), with 80 (thirteen under construction) stations and over 316,000 daily weekday boardings as of February 2012.

  The Blue Line (opened in 1990) is a light rail line running between Downtown Los Angeles and Downtown Long Beach.
  The Red Line (opened in 1993) is a subway line running between Downtown Los Angeles and North Hollywood.
  The Purple Line (opened in 1993) is a subway line running between Downtown Los Angeles and the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles.
  The Green Line (opened in 1995) is a light rail line running between Redondo Beach and Norwalk, providing indirect access to Los Angeles International Airport via a shuttle bus.
  The Gold Line (opened in 2003) is a light rail line running between East Los Angeles and Pasadena via Downtown Los Angeles.
  The Expo Line (opened in 2012) is a light rail line running between Downtown Los Angeles and Culver City with the extension to its terminus in Santa Monica opening in early 2016.

Metro Liner

A Metro Liner vehicle at the North Hollywood station on the Orange Line.
Metro Silver Line bus departing Manchester Silver Line station.

Metro Liner is an express bus system with characteristics of bus rapid transit with two lines operating on dedicated or shared-use busways. The system runs a total of 40 miles, with 27 stations and over 38,000 daily weekday boardings as of February 2012.

The Metro Liner system is meant to mimic the Metro Rail system, both in the vehicle's design and in the operation of the line. Vehicles stop at dedicated stations (except the Metro Silver Line portion in Downtown Los Angeles), vehicles receive priority at intersections and are painted in a silver livery similar to newer Metro Rail vehicles.

  The Metro Orange Line (opened in 2005) is a bus rapid transit line running between North Hollywood, Warner Center and select trips to Chatsworth.
  The Metro Silver Line (began operation in 2009) is a fast limited-stop bus line running between El Monte and the Harbor Gateway district of Los Angeles via Downtown Los Angeles.

Metro Bus

Metro is the primary bus operator in the Los Angeles Basin, the San Fernando Valley, and the western San Gabriel Valley. Other transit providers operate more frequent service in the rest of the county. Regions in Los Angeles County that Metro Bus does not serve at all include rural regions, the Pomona Valley, the Santa Clarita Valley, and the Antelope Valley.

Metro operates two types of bus services which are distinguished by the color of the buses.[8] However, when mechanical problems or availability equipment occurs, a bus of any color may be substituted to continue service on the route.

A Metro Local bus on Line 81 (Figueroa St.) with its trademark orange color

Metro Local buses are painted in an off-orange color the agency has dubbed “California Poppy”. This type of service makes frequent stops along major thoroughfares. There are 18,500 stops on 189 bus lines. Some Metro Local routes make limited stops along part of their trip but do not participate in the Rapid program. Some Metro Local bus lines are operated by MV Transportation, Southland Transit, and Transdev (formerly Veolia).

A Metro Rapid articulated bus on Line 720 (Wilshire Blvd. Whittier Blvd.).

Metro Rapid buses are distinguished by their bright red color the agency has dubbed “Rapid Red”. This bus rapid transit service offers limited stops on many of the county's more heavily traveled arterial streets. Metro claims to reduce passenger commute times by up to 25 percent by several methods, among them the lack of a bus schedule so that drivers are not held up at certain stops.

A Metro Express bus on Line 577X (San Gabriel River Frwy.) at CSULB in Long Beach

Metro Express buses used to be painted in a dark blue color the agency has formerly dubbed “Business Blue”, the routes are designed as premium, minimal stop services along Los Angeles's extensive freeway network. The service has been debranded in recent years. Currently there are two lines, 450X and 577X.

Some Metro Local lines also use the county's freeway system along their trip. They are labeled as Express services but make more stops on their trips and are not considered to be "premium" Metro Express lines.

All Metro buses are CNG-powered, the largest such fleet in the United States.[9] The CNG fleet reduces emissions of particulates by 90 percent, carbon monoxide by 80 percent, and greenhouse gases by 20 percent compared to diesel powered buses. Alternative fuel buses have logged more than 450 million operating miles since 1993, an industry record.


Metro Silver Line bus.

Metro operates two transitways that carry multiple bus routes for part of their trips through Southern California. When traveling within the transitways, the buses run in express service, stopping only at stations. The transitways are meant to mimic the Metro Rail lines, because while each bus may have a different final destination passengers can board any bus and travel to any of the other stations. The two transitways are connected by a dedicated Metro Liner route, the Metro Silver Line.

Other services


The following table shows Metro fares, effective 15 September 2014 (in US dollars). All Metro passes are sold on TAP Cards, smart fare cards on which customers can load value or a pass; they are valid on all Metro buses and trains as well as most city buses.

Fare Type Regular Senior/
Base Fare $1.75 $0.75*/$0.35**
Base Fare (Metro Silver Line) $2.50 $1.35*/$0.95**
Tokens $1.75
Metro Day Pass*** $7 $2.50
Metro Day Pass + TAP Card (on the bus) $8
7-Day Pass $25
K-12 Student 30-Day Pass $24
College/Vocational Student 30-Day Pass
    • Must be enrolled in at least 12 units or more in order to qualify for reduced fare
30-Day Pass $100 $20
Regional EZ Pass $110 $42
Metro-to-Muni Transfer $0.50 $0.25
Zone charge (one zone) $0.75 $0.60
Monthly zone stamp (one zone) $22 ^
* $0.75 fare 05:00–09:00 and 15:00-19:00 non-holiday weekdays.
** $0.35 fare 09:00-15:00 and 19:00-05:00 weekdays and all day weekends and holidays.
*** As of 15 March 2009, no day passes are sold on buses without possession of a TAP card, which can be purchased at various retail outlets for $2 (or $1 at TVMs) for use on the bus. All passes are now available on TAP card. A Reduced Fare TAP card is now available for Senior/Disabled, College/Vocational students and K–12 Students.
^ Zone charges are not imposed for discount pass holders, but are imposed for discount cash fare payers.

There are faregates at some Metro Rail stations and the Orange Line that require a TAP card, but Metro as a whole operates on a proof-of-payment system. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Metro's fare inspectors conduct random ticket inspections throughout the system. If customers are caught without a ticket they may be fined up to US$250 and/or subject to 48 hours community service.

Fare evasion was estimated in 2007 to be at 6%, costing Metro $2.6 million annually. In response to this, the Metro board approved fare gating of all stations on the Red and Green Lines, and selected stations on the Orange, Blue, and Gold Lines, capturing 84% of passengers using the system. Adding fare gates was selected to increase fare collections, implement distance based fares on rail and transitways in the future, and reduce the potential of the system to terrorist attack.[11] Former Metrolink executive director Richard Stanger critiqued the gate installation by citing its cost and ineffectiveness, concerns ultimately dismissed by the Metro board.[12]

In 2007, with the consent decree with the BRU expired, Metro announced plans for a fare hike. They said that they needed to reduce their $US 100 million deficit, which would be done either by raising fares or reducing service. This proposal garnered strong opposition from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilman Bernard Parks, the Bus Riders Union, and low-income residents.

On 24 May 2007, the Metro board approved fare increases, which were lower than their original proposal, but eliminated the semi-monthly pass.

Measure R had all senior and disabled fares, as well as student passes, frozen at current rates thru 14 September 2014.[13]

The Rider Relief Transportation Program (RRTP) provides fare subsidy coupons to eligible riders who purchase daily, weekly, or monthly Metro passes, TAP cash value, and EZ transit passes from participating transit systems. Eligible riders include adult regular riders, Senior/Disabled/Medicare, K–12 grade students, and college/vocational students who are pre-qualified by a participating community-based agency. RRTP subsidy coupons are available to Los Angeles County residents whose household income levels meet the following criteria. Persons in:

  • Household size: Annual Income
  • 1: $25,900
  • 2: $29,600
  • 3: $33,300
  • 4: $37,000
  • 5: $39,950
  • 6: $42,900

Residents of the Cities/County and students of schools and colleges already being subsidized for Metro fare media will not be eligible to receive the coupon subsidy.


Percentage of workers commuting to work by public transport in Los Angeles County, in 2007

The Metro Blue Line has the highest ridership of all the Metro Light Rail Lines. The Metro Red Line's operational cost is the lowest of all of the Metro Rail lines because of its highest ridership. The Metro Liner Metro Silver Line has the lowest ridership of all color-branded lines. Average daily boardings for December 2014 are as follows:[1]

Service Weekdays Saturdays Sundays and Holidays Weekday ridership per mile (km)
Heavy Rail/Metro
   Red Line
   Purple Line
150,421 95,624 88,862 8,645 (5,372)
Light Rail
   Blue Line 82,365 56,963 47,052 3,744 (2,353)
   Expo Line 30,262 22,751 16,997 3,519 (2,193)
   Gold Line 44,707 29,550 23,696 2,269 (1,410)
   Green Line 40,403 24,519 17,643 2,020 (1,263)
Bus and BRT
Metro Bus 1,004,341 711,898 503,596
   Orange Line 25,369 16,798 11,632 1,409 (875)
   Silver Line 12,935 5,526 4,117 498 (309)


Metro is governed by a Board of Directors whose 13 members are:

In addition, Service Councils, composed of political appointees from various regions of Los Angeles County, approve service changes and oversee routes within a region. There are five sectors: Gateway Cities, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, South Bay, and Westside/Central. Governance councils approve service changes (with the Metro board retaining veto authority over any change), review the budget, address complaints about bus service, and provide recommendations to Metro management regarding the employment status of each sector general manager.

Communications between sectors and riders was poor, according to a report by the California State Auditor which was released one year into the new structure.[14] In addition, each sector had its own scheduling, operations, and maintenance divisions, causing effort duplication, organizational silos, and inefficiency.[15] Thus, in 2009, the sectors were eliminated, and transportation, maintenance, service planning, and administration were recentralized under the guidance of Metro's Chief Operations Officer. Governance councils, renamed service councils, now have more responsibility over local issues such as stop placement and service changes, while larger issues are handled by the Metro board.[16]


A complex mix of federal, state, county and city tax dollars as well as bonds and fare box revenue funds Metro. The Metro budget for 2015 is $5.508 billion. Below is an example of funding sources for a Metro budget many years ago, and the example below does not include an additional sales tax revenue from Measure R that passed a few years ago. The figures listed below are not current to 2015.

Funding sources as per earlier budget.

Resources US$ in Millions
Fare Revenue 264
Prop A - 1/2 Cent Sales Tax 575
Prop C - 1/2 Cent Sales Tax 703
Federal Grants 547
State Grants 472
Interest Income/Bonds 179
Other Local Revenue 123
Total Resources US$2,863
Warner Center Orange Line Station.


Expo Line train arriving at La Cienega station.

Most buses are equipped with monitors for Transit TV broadcasts and to display real-time bus maps to show the location through GPS navigation; the latter is the first of its kind in the United States. Also, as part of Metro's ATMS project, most buses include a marquee displaying the date and time, Automatic Voice Annunciation (AVA) for audio and visual announcements for each stop, and an audio and visual Stop Requested announcement.

MV Transportation, Southland Transit, and Transdev are bus contractors; these contractors currently operate a few NABI 40-LFW (7300-7514), (7600-7949) series, all NABI 31-LFW (3100-3149) series, and some NFI XN40 (5600-6149) series.

Metro Local buses are painted orange ("California Poppy"), Metro Rapid buses are painted red, and Metro Silver Line buses are painted silver. Metro Local buses acquired prior to the adoption of these colors in 2004 are white with a gold stripe around the bus; these buses been painted orange during their mid-life rehabilitation (except for the 5300-series New Flyer buses assigned to Metro Rapid lines, which were repainted in red livery in 2004-05). The 7000- and 7600-series buses acquired for Metro Rapid service in 2000 and 2002 are red with a white stripe along the top (7102-7112, 7617-7618, 7628, 7643, 7646 were white with a red Metro Rapid logo on all sides and some of these buses have been repainted to standard red and white and a few have been converted to Metro Local service), but some have been repainted to the current red and silver livery. Most had been repainted beginning in 2007; some have been repainted either in the updated Metro Rapid scheme or in Metro Local colors.

Metro operates the nation's largest fleet of CNG-powered buses. The CNG fleet reduces emissions of particulates by 90%, carbon monoxide by 80%, and greenhouse gases by 20% over the 500 remaining diesel powered buses in the fleet. Alternative fuel buses have logged more than 450 million operating miles since 1993, an industry record. Metro has retired all diesel buses (not including contracted buses) and became an entirely clean-air fleet in January 2011.

Beginning December 17, 2006, Metro Local Lines 233 (Van Nuys Blvd.) and 204 (Vermont Ave.) were the first Metro Local lines to use 60-foot (18 m) NABI articulated buses (9400-9494 and some 9500-9594 series). These buses are also currently in use on Metro Local Line 40 (Hawthorne Bl./Crenshaw Bl./MLK Bl./Broadway Ave.), Metro Local Line 66 (8th Street/E. Olympic Bl.) and Metro Local Line 207 (Western Ave.).

Bicycle transportation planning

In May 2009 Metro started to set up a Multi Mobility Working Group, which may lead to a change in TDM funding for bicycle projects as detailed in a separate entry on bicycle transportation planning in Los Angeles.


LACMTA was formed in 1993 from the merger of two previous agencies: the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD or more often, RTD) and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC). RTD was during the 1960s to 1980s (until the LACTC was created) the "800 pound gorilla" in bus transportation in Southern California, operating most public transportation in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, although outlying services began to be divested in the early 1980s.


In July 2006, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed a free transit week, which was inspired by the San Francisco Bay Area's Spare the Air days of free rides, which helped increase ridership by 10%. This proposal would help reduce traffic congestion and improve the air quality during the free week. In the wake of concerns raised by Metro's police and security heads (citing increased crime during the San Francisco promotion), this was downgraded by Villaraigosa at the September board of directors meeting into a general directive to increase ridership by 30% over the next year.

A TAP gate at a Metro station

The renamed Foothill Construction Authority (formerly Metro Blue Line Construction Authority) is in the planning stages of a San Gabriel Valley extension of the Gold Line to the San Bernardino County border city of Montclair. In October 2009, the Metro Board unanimously voted to include the Foothill Extension in its long-range plan, and approved funding for the construction and operation of its first phase to Azusa. The terminus of this extension will be at a stop just west of Azusa's eastern border. This first phase broke ground in late 2011, and is expected to be completed and opened in the Fall of 2015. The Board also directed its staff to seek funding for the second phase of the Foothill Extension, in the hopes of completion by 2017-2019.

The Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (EMLCA) was established to construct the first phase of the Expo Line (Expo Phase 1) from 7th Street/Metro Center in Downtown Los Angeles to the intersection of Venice and Robertson Boulevards in Culver City. The Phase 1 portion of this project went to bid in the spring of 2006, and was completed in 2012.[17] Phase Two of this project has been approved to bring the line to downtown Santa Monica. The route of Expo Phase 2 will take an exclusive path along the former Pacific Electric Santa Monica "Air Line" right-of-way, through Palms/Cheviot Hills/Westside Village/Rancho Park.[18]

The West Santa Ana Branch via Stanton and Garden Grove to Santa Ana is an additional corridor identified for possible future expansion of rail or busway service.

Metro has expanded its Metro Rapid bus system with a goal of 28 lines since 2008.[19] A Special Master ruling in December 2005 requires Metro to increase service on all Rapid bus routes to every 10 minutes during the peak period and every 20 minutes during the mid-day and evening. Service would be required to operate between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. on all Rapid routes. Metro has chosen not to appeal the ruling and began implementation on all Rapid routes in June 2006.

In addition, the agency is embarking on a massive bus restructuring effort entitled Metro Connections. The project is designed to convert the current grid-based bus system, implemented in 1980, to a hub and spoke system focused on activity centers.[20] The system is to be phased in the next four years, and will include new express routes and reconfigured local service. Suburban service and low ridership shuttles will be considered for operation by municipal agencies, restructuring, or cancellation.

A new Universal Fare system called 'TAP' which stands for Transit Access Pass was introduced to the public in early 2010. The TAP smart card allows bus and rail passengers to physically tap their cards on the farebox for faster boarding. This automated fare system will eventually be implemented on eleven other Los Angeles County transit operators and intends to replace the EZ Pass which allows travel between these transit agencies for one monthly price. Commuters from surrounding cities and communities will be able to travel across the county switching from one transit operator's system to another using one smart card to pay for fares.

Metro also conducted a study and is recommending to the Metro Board to change line service color identifiers with letters to replace the color name system currently in use. They recommend a lettering scheme similar to New York City. Metro recommended the renaming be implemented as soon as possible in gradual stages but no timeline has been released. [21]

Under the new scheme, the following changes would take place:

  • The Blue Line and Pasadena/Foothill branch of the Gold line would become the A Line
  • The Red Line would become the B Line
  • The Purple Line would become the C Line
  • The branch of the Green Line terminating in Redondo Beach would become the D Line
  • The Expo Line and Eastside branch of the Gold Line would become the E Line
  • The Orange Line busway would become the G Line
  • The Silver Line busway would become the J Line
  • The under-construction Crenshaw Line would become the K Line
  • The branch of the Green Line terminating at the under-construction Aviation/Century station would become the L Line

Photo gallery

In popular culture

The Metro rail and bus fleet often make appearances in films and television shows produced in the Los Angeles area, including 2012, Crash,[22] Volcano, Superbad, Collateral, The 40-Year-Old Virgin,[23] and Battle: Los Angeles.[24] One of the earliest appearances was in the 1994 movie Speed with Keanu Reaves and Sandra Bullock, in which the Metro plays a key part in the plot.

See also



  1. ^ a b "Facts At A Glance". Metro. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "Phillip Washington, Denver transit chief, to become Metro's new CEO".  
  3. ^ Klugman, Mark. Brief Report: L.A.’s Transit Policing Partnership. Spring 1998. Retrieved April 4, 2006
  4. ^ "Help & Contacts." Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved on March 18, 2010.
  5. ^ APTA Ridership Reports Statistics - United States Transit Agency Totals Index. Retrieved April 4, 2006
  6. ^|About Metro Retrieved April 4, 2006
  7. ^ LA County’s Metro Cited as Nation’s 2006 Outstanding Public Transportation System. Retrieved June 8, 2006
  8. ^ "Bold New Look Proposed For Metro Buses, Trains, 'M' Logo". Los Angeles County Metro. 19 June 2003. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  9. ^ "Metro Gets Grant For Purchase of More Clean-Air Buses". Los Angeles County Metro. 26 April 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  10. ^ Grasso, Samantha J. (June 25, 2015). "Metro’s Launching a Big Bike-Share Program Downtown". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved 30 June 2015. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority: It Is Too Early to Predict Service Sector Success, but Opportunities for Improved Analysis and Communication Exist." page 41, California State Auditor, December 2003. Retrieved May 1, 2006.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Overview of Transportation Topics. Retrieved April 4, 2006.
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Crash (
  23. ^ The 40 Year Old Virgin (
  24. ^ Battle: Los Angeles (

External links

  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority
  • Metro Gold Line Extension to Ontario Airport
  • Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority
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