Newly-released Metro budget reveals service changes, upcoming projects

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Metro last week released its budget for the coming fiscal year. The balanced budget is for $7.2 billion, an increase over the current year’s $6.6 billion. Although there are no projected Metro fare increases ahead, some train schedule changes have been proposed.

If approved, the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines would run every eight minutes during peak hours, instead of every six or seven. Additionally, all trains on those three lines would consist of three cars instead of two. Weekday non-peak hours would remain unchanged.

On the bus side, some frequent lines with unused capacity would go from running five trips an hour to four when demand is less. Otherwise, bus schedules will remain unchanged.

The changes are meant to make trains more consistent and punctual, allow more time for maintenance and accurately meet ridership demands.

Much of the money in the budget will go toward ongoing Metro projects. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is scheduled to open next year, with the Metro Regional Connector slated for 2022, and Purple Line Extensions projected for completion by 2025, the same year as the Gold Line extension’s first section to La Verne or Pomona will be completed. Its terminus will depend on funding.

Many new rail and bus lines will be designed in the coming year as well. These include a new rail station near LAX, a new light rail between Van Nuys and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station and one between Artesia and downtown Los Angeles, a Green Line extension to Torrance, an extension of the Eastside Gold Line and the Crenshaw Northern Extension.

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