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Four Metro-operated modes of service
Four Metro-operated modes of service
LocaleLos Angeles County, California
Transit type
Number of lines
  • Bus: 140
  • Bus rapid transit: 2
  • Light rail: 4
  • Subway: 2
Number of stationsRail: 93
Bus: 13,978[1]
Daily ridership809,300 (weekdays, Q4 2021)[2]
Annual ridership227,718,700 (2021)[2]
Chief executiveStephanie Wiggins
HeadquartersMetro Headquarters Building
One Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles, California
Began operationFebruary 1, 1993
System lengthRail: 105 miles (169 km)
Bus: 1,433 miles (2,306 km)[1]

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA), commonly branded as Metro or L.A. Metro, is the agency that plans, operates, and coordinates funding for most of the transportation system in Los Angeles County. The agency directly operates a large transit system that includes bus, light rail, heavy rail (subway), and bus rapid transit services; and provides funding for transit it does not operate, including Metrolink commuter rail, municipal bus operators and paratransit services. Metro also provides funding and directs planning for railroad and highway projects within Los Angeles County. In 2021, the system had a total ridership of 227,718,700 and had a ridership of 809,300 per weekday as of the fourth quarter of 2021.


Metro Headquarters Building, a high-rise office tower located next to Union Station
Metro Headquarters Building, a high-rise office tower located next to Union Station

Main articles: History of the LACMTA and History of Los Angeles Metro Rail and Busway

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority was formed on February 1, 1993, from the merger of two rival agencies: the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD or more often, RTD) and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC).[3]

The RTD was founded on August 18, 1964, to operate most public transportation in the urbanized Southern California region, including Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, and Riverside counties. RTD replaced the major predecessor public agency, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, and took over eleven failing other bus companies and services in the Southern California region.[4] Services outside of Los Angeles County began to be divested in the early 1980s.

The LACTC was formed in 1976 after a state requirement that all counties form local transportation commissions. Its main objective was to be the guardian of all transportation funding, both transit and highway, for Los Angeles County.

The bickering between the two agencies came to a head in the 1980s. At that time, the LACTC was building the Blue Line (now A Line) light rail line between Los Angeles and Long Beach, while the RTD was building the Red Line (now B Line) subway in Downtown Los Angeles. It was revealed that due to disputes between the agencies, the LACTC was planning to end the Blue Line at Pico Station, instead of serving the 7th Street/Metro Center station being built by the RTD six blocks north.

LA Metro has assumed the functions of both agencies and now develops and oversees transportation plans, policies, funding programs, and both short-term and long-range solutions to mobility, accessibility and environmental needs in the county. The agency is also the primary transit provider for the city of Los Angeles, providing the bulk of such services even though the city's Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) operates a smaller system of its own within the MTA service area in the city of Los Angeles.

The agency is based out of the Metro Headquarters Building, a 26-story high-rise office tower located next to Union Station, a major transportation hub and the main train station for the Los Angeles metropolitan area.[5]

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. Metro also operates 105 miles (169 km) of urban rail service.[1] The authority has 9,892 employees, making it one of the region's largest employers.[1]

The authority also partially funds sixteen municipal bus operators and an 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 County of Los Angeles.

To increase sustainability in transportation services, Metro also provides bike and pedestrian improvements for the over 10.1 million residents of Los Angeles County.[6]

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 Transit Enforcement Department, Los Angeles Police Department (Union Station and all LACMTA rail services within the City of Los Angeles) and in the city of Long Beach, the Long Beach Police Department.


Metro Rail and Metro Busway system map
Metro Rail and Metro Busway system map

Metro Rail

Main article: Los Angeles Metro Rail

Metro Rail is a rail mass transit system with two subway and four light rail lines, with one light rail line opening in 2022. As of November 2016, the system runs a total of 105 miles (169 km), with 93 stations[1] and over 316,000 daily weekday boardings.

 A Line (opened 1990) is a light rail line running between Downtown Los Angeles and Downtown Long Beach.
 B Line (opened 1993) is a subway line running between Downtown Los Angeles and North Hollywood.
 C Line (opened 1995) is a light rail line running between Redondo Beach and Norwalk, largely in the median of the 105 Freeway. It provides indirect access to Los Angeles International Airport via a shuttle bus.
 D Line (opened 2006) is a subway line running between Downtown Los Angeles and the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles. Most of its route is shared with the B Line.
 E Line (opened 2012) is a light rail line running between Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica.[7]
 K Line (opening 2022) is a future light rail line running between South Los Angeles and Inglewood, with a connection to Los Angeles International Airport and the C Line opening in 2024.
 L Line (opened 2003) is a light rail line running between East Los Angeles and Azusa via Downtown Los Angeles. The L Line will be discontinued Fall 2022 when the A Line and E Line take over the L Line's route. [8]

Metro Bus

Metro Bus on Line 81
Metro Bus on Line 81

Main article: 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.

In addition to hundreds of traditional routes, Metro also operates a handful of Rapid routes that offer limited-stop services heavily traveled arterial streets and Express routes that travel on the extensive Southern California freeway system.

Metro Busway

A Metro Liner vehicle at the North Hollywood station on the Orange Line.
A Metro Liner vehicle at the North Hollywood station on the Orange Line.

Main article: Los Angeles Metro Busway

Metro Busway is a bus rapid transit system with two lines operating on dedicated or shared-use busways. The system runs a total of 60 miles (97 km), with 29 stations and over 42,000 daily weekday boardings as of May 2016.

The Metro Busway 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 for the portion of the Metro J Line in Downtown Los Angeles), vehicles receive priority at intersections and are painted in a silver livery similar to Metro Rail vehicles.

 G Line (opened 2005) is a bus rapid transit line running between North Hollywood and Chatsworth.
 J Line (opened 2009) is a bus rapid transit line running between El Monte, Downtown Los Angeles, and Harbor Gateway, with some buses also serving San Pedro.


The Metro Busway J Line operates over two busways, semi-exclusive roadways built into the Southern California freeway system. These busways are also used by other bus routes to speed up their trips.

Other services


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.

Faregates at some Metro Rail stations and the G Line require a TAP card, but Metro as a whole operates on a proof-of-payment system. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Long Beach Police Department and Metro's fare inspectors conduct random ticket inspections throughout the system. If customers are caught without a valid TAP card, they may be fined and/or subject to 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.[10] Former Metrolink executive director Richard Stanger critiqued the gate installation by citing its cost and ineffectiveness, concerns ultimately dismissed by the Metro board.[11]


Weekday mode share in 2018

  B Line D Line B & D Lines (11.3%)
   A Line (5.3%)
   C Line (2.5%)
   E Line (5%)
   L Line (4.2%)
   G Line (1.9%)
   J Line (1.2%)
  Metro Bus (72.3%)

The Metro B Line has the highest ridership of all Metro Rail lines and also the lowest operational cost because of its high ridership. The Metro Liner Metro J Line has the lowest ridership of all color-branded lines. Average daily boardings and passenger miles for all of 2018 are as follows:[12]

Service Weekdays Saturdays Sundays and Holidays Average Weekday Passenger Miles
Heavy Rail
 B Line
 D Line
137,142 81,837 70,250 648,132
Light Rail
 A Line 64,648 32,075 29,013 482,659
 C Line 30,839 16,504 13,588 219,700
 E Line 61,024 37,321 32,966 424,643
 L Line 50,523 31,280 24,937 441,140
Bus and BRT
Metro Bus 878,862 550,391 423,771 3,739,826
 G Line 22,573 12,698 10,212 148,944
 J Line 15,059 6,346 5,127 152,706
Total Bus and Rail 1,214,893 752,462 601,200 5,824,359


Metro is governed by a board of directors with 14 members, 13 of whom are voting members.[13] The Board is composed of:

While the Metro board makes decisions on large issues, they rely on Service Councils to advise on smaller decisions, such as on bus stop placement and over bus service changes.[14] To enable this work, the councils call and conduct public hearings, evaluate Metro programs in their area, and meet with management staff. There are five Service Councils, each representing a different region: Gateway Cities, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, South Bay, and Westside/Central. Each council is led by a board composed of a political appointees.


Ara Najarian

Vice Chair

Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker

Chair Pro Tem

Janice Hahn

Chief Executive Officer

Stephanie Wiggins


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 2020 is $7.2 billion. Below is the funding breakdown from Metro's fiscal year 2020 budget:

Revenues US$ in Millions 2020[16]
Proposition A (0.5% sales tax) 873
Proposition C (0.5% sales tax) 873
Measure R (0.5% sales tax) 873
Measure M (0.5% sales tax) 873
Transportation Development Act (0.25% sales tax) 436.5
State Transit Assistance ("Diesel Tax") 215.8
SB 1 State of Good Repair Funding ("Gas Tax") 30.1
Metro Passenger Fares 284.5
Metro ExpressLanes Tolls 58.4
Advertising 25.6
Other Revenues 71.2
Grants Reimbursements 1,184.8
Bond Proceeds & Prior Year Carryover 1,408.6
Total Resources (US$ millions) 7,207.6


The agency is a public transportation and planning agency that lies under the jurisdiction of the State of California. Although it falls under State regulations, it can also partake in regional and municipal levels of rule during a transportation development project.[17] For example, it can play a role in policies regarding a state's housing policies, since the living situation of one affects the methods of transportation its residents will take.[18]

This transit agency can measure successful projects through key pointers such as low income ridership increase and an increase of favorable environmental and health factors for its public community.[19] Increased low income ridership is a significant factor because that focus group tends to makes up the majority of public transit ridership.[19] Favorable environmental and health factors are also relevant factors because they indicate a positive relationship within the space developed and its residents.[17]


E Line train arriving at La Cienega/Jefferson station.

Main article: Los Angeles Metro bus fleet

Main article: Los Angeles Metro Rail rolling stock

Most of Metro's bus fleet is powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), the largest such fleet in the United States.[20] Using CNG reduces emissions of particulates by 90%, carbon monoxide by 80%, and greenhouse gases by 20% compared to diesel powered buses. The agency is also operating a limited number of battery electric buses, notably on the G Line busway, with plans to convert into a fully electric bus system[21] Buses feature on-board visual displays and automatic voice announcement systems that announce the next stop.

The Metro Rail fleet is broken down into two main types: light rail vehicles and rapid transit cars (commonly called subway cars in Los Angeles). Metro's light rail vehicles, used on the A, C, E and L Lines, are 87-foot (26.52 m) articulated, high-floor double-ended cars, powered by overhead catenary lines, which typically run in two or three car consists. Metro's subway cars, used on the B (Red) and D (Purple) Lines, are 75-foot (22.86 m) electric multiple unit, married-pair cars, powered by electrified third rail, that typically run in four or six car consists.


NextGen Bus Plan

Metro is currently implementing its "NextGen Bus Plan," a major restructuring of the agencies routes. The plan eliminates most of the Metro Rapid routes, along with low-performing Metro Local lines, to invest in the remaining routes. Metro says the plan will double the number of frequent bus lines (defined as a bus every 10 minute or better) and expand midday, evening and weekend service, while ensuring that 99% of current riders continue to have a less than 14-mile walk to their bus stop.

Regional Connector

Further information: Regional Connector

The Regional Connector is a tunnel under Downtown Los Angeles, joining the L Line at Little Tokyo Station (1st Street and Central Avenue) to the A Line (Blue Line) and E Line (Expo Line) at 7th Street/Metro Center. 2 stations will the introduced in this matter, with those stations being "Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill" and "Historic Broadway". This will lead to the creation of two lines, one between Long Beach and Azusa, and the other between East Los Angeles and Santa Monica. The project is expected to open in August 2022.[22]

 K Line (Crenshaw/LAX Line)

Further information: K Line (Los Angeles Metro)

The K Line, known as the Crenshaw/LAX Line during construction, is being built from Aviation/LAX station on the C Line to Expo/Crenshaw station on the E Line, passing through Inglewood and Crenshaw, Los Angeles. It will connect with a people mover to serve Los Angeles International Airport. A further phase will extend the line to Hollywood to connect with the B Line, as well as following existing C Line tracks to Norwalk. The project has suffered repeated delays and now is expected to open in November 2022.[22]

Purple Line Extension

Further information: Purple Line Extension

Phase 1 of the Purple Line Extension will add three new subway stations to the D Line at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax, and Wilshire/La Cienega. Construction on Phase 1 began in 2014 and is expected to be complete in 2024. Phase 2 to Century City is expected to be completed in 2025, followed by Phase 3 to Westwood in 2027.

Gold Line Foothill Extension

Further information: Gold Line Foothill Extension

Metro is planning an extension of the Gold Line into the San Gabriel Valley to Pomona (North) station. The first phase of this extension, to Azusa, opened on March 5, 2016. Construction for the second phase to Pomona began on December 2, 2017, and is expected to complete by early 2026.

Long-range Measure M plans

Measure M, passed in November 2016, extends and increases the Measure R 30-year half-cent sales tax to a permanent one-cent sales tax. This tax is expected to fund $120 billion in highway and transit projects over 40 years.[23] The tax is also expected to support over 778,000 jobs in the Los Angeles area and $79.3 billion in economic output.[24]

Projects to be funded by Measure M, not previously mentioned above, include:[23][25]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e "Facts At A Glance". Metro. Archived from the original on 25 December 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2021" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. March 10, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  3. ^ "California Code, Public Utilities Code – PUC § 130051.10". Findlaw. Retrieved 2021-11-16.
  4. ^ history. Retrieved April 4, 2004. Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Help & Contacts." Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved on March 18, 2010.
  6. ^ "Metro Sustainability".
  7. ^ Nelson, Laura J. (February 25, 2016). "Metro Expo Line to begin service to Santa Monica on May 20". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ Scauzillo, Steve (February 26, 2016). "When is the grand opening of the Gold Line Foothill Extension?". San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
  9. ^ "Metro Bike Share: About". 2015-01-27. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  10. ^ "Metro Rail Gating Study" (PDF). November 15, 2007.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2015-10-21.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Ridership Statistics". Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  13. ^ "California Code, Public Utilities Code – PUC § 130051". Findlaw. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  14. ^ "Metro in Transition". Streetsblog Los Angeles. 2009-12-02. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  15. ^ "Metro Board". Metro Board. Retrieved 2022-07-03.
  16. ^ "FY20 Adopted Budget" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. July 1, 2019. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  17. ^ a b Pegrum, Dudley F. (1961). "The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority". Land Economics. 37 (3): 247–255. doi:10.2307/3159723. ISSN 0023-7639. JSTOR 3159723.
  18. ^ "Twenty-First Century Urbanism", Street Level: Los Angeles in the Twenty-First Century, Routledge, pp. 97–123, 2016-04-01, doi:10.4324/9781315611051-6, ISBN 978-1-315-61105-1, retrieved 2021-07-20
  19. ^ a b Mohiuddin, Hossain (2021-02-19). "Planning for the First and Last Mile: A Review of Practices at Selected Transit Agencies in the United States". Sustainability. 13 (4): 2222. doi:10.3390/su13042222. ISSN 2071-1050.
  20. ^ "Metro Gets Grant For Purchase of More Clean-Air Buses". Los Angeles County Metro. 26 April 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
  21. ^ "Fresh Air".
  22. ^ a b Linton, Joe (2021-05-11). "Metro Rail Shorts: Crenshaw and Connector Delays, Sepulveda Video, and More". Streetsblog Los Angeles. Retrieved 2021-11-17.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ a b "Measure M: Metro's Plan to Transform Transportation in LA". The Plan. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  24. ^ "Fresh Air".
  25. ^ "Measure M project descriptions". The Source. 2016-11-09. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  26. ^ "Editorial: It was a terrible idea to build a new freeway in Los Angeles County. Now it's on hold for good". Los Angeles Times. 2019-10-06. Retrieved 2019-10-17.