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If asked to guess, we would estimate the average daylight-hours ridership to be 30 people per train.
Security appeared to be light all along the line. During one day’s trip the only policing we could confirm was a sheriff’s car patrolling the abundant free parking at the Expo Line’s La Cienega/Jefferson station. During peak morning hours, however, there were abundant numbers of MTA employees at each platform, sometimes outnumbering the waiting passengers.
The estimate made in the first paragraph, while farcically intended, is in fact based on the most charitable estimates we can square with observed results. We assume every train over the Expo Line’s day (which begins at 4 a.m. and continues until 12:30 a.m. the following day) runs with at least 50 passengers, and we also assume that every passenger has paid full fare of $1.50 each way. The Expo Line’s observed performance is much lower than either of those assumptions.
The Expo Line will create hazards by running through heavy traffic, according to USC civil engineer Najm Meshkati. The train itself also appears to be affected by the morning traffic. There were many non-platform stops along the morning trip, though it was not clear whether they were related to the mechanical problems the line was experiencing. Although the train did meet its deadline for opening April 28, it's notable that in addition to the MTA employees working at platforms, there are numerous crews in orange vests still working along the entire length of the rail line.
The opening of the Expo Line has already occasioned the closure of many through streets along the train alignment. Some of these closures have clearly been done at the last minute, such as a concrete-slab roadblock on Exposition Boulevard outside the La Brea station. Marked only by taggers, this barrier contains no information from any official entity regarding its purpose, changes to traffic or parking laws, or whether the blockade will be permanent or temporary.
MTA officials tell the local NBC affiliate that “if people follow traffic lights, there will be no problems.”