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Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

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Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Four Metro-operated modes of service, clockwise from top left: Metro Bus, Metro Busway (bus rapid transit), Metro Rail subway and Metro Rail light rail
LocaleLos Angeles County, California
Transit type
Number of lines
  • Bus: 117
  • Bus rapid transit: 2
  • Light rail: 4
  • Subway: 2
Number of stationsRail: 101
Bus: 11,980[1]
Daily ridership903,000 (weekdays, Q1 2024)[2]
Annual ridership284,901,000 (2023)[3]
Chief executiveStephanie Wiggins
HeadquartersMetro Headquarters Building
One Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles, California
Began operationFebruary 1, 1993; 31 years ago (February 1, 1993)
System lengthRail: 109 miles (175 km)
Bus: 1,447 miles (2,329 km)[1]

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA), branded as Metro, is the county agency that plans, operates, and coordinates funding for most of the public transportation system in Los Angeles County, California, the most populated county in the United States.

The agency directly operates a large transit system that includes bus, light rail, heavy rail (subway), and bus rapid transit services. Metro also provides funding for transit it does not operate, including Metrolink commuter rail, municipal bus operators and paratransit services. The agency also provides funding and directs planning for railroad and highway projects within Los Angeles County.

In 2023, the Metro system had a total ridership of 284,901,000, and had a ridership of 903,000 per weekday as of the first quarter of 2024. It is the largest transit agency by ridership in the state of California, and the third-largest in the United States.


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

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority was formed on February 1, 1993, by the California State Legislature which merged two rival agencies: the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD or more often, RTD) and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC).[4]

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.[5] Services outside of Los Angeles County began to be divested in the early 1980s.

The LACTC began operation in 1977 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.[6]

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 public transit provider for the city of Los Angeles, the second largest city in the United States, providing the bulk of such services. even though the city's own Los Angeles Department of Transportation LADOT operates a smaller bus only public transit system of its own called DASH within the MTA service area in the city of Los Angeles, often overlapping with some Metro Bus routes and stops in several neighborhoods primarily in the central part of the city.

Since 1995 the agency has been 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, which it has also owned since purchasing it in 2011.[7]

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 109 miles (175 km) of urban rail service.[1] The authority has 10,290 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.[8]

Security and law enforcement services on Metro property (including buses and trains) are currently provided by the 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) in the City of Long Beach, the Long Beach Police Department and in the City of Santa Monica, California the Santa Monica Police Department.


Metro Rail and Busway system map

Interactive Metro Rail and Busway map

Metro Rail[edit]

Metro Rail is a rail mass transit system with two subway and four light rail lines. As of June 2023, the system runs a total of 109 miles (175 km), with 101 stations.[1]

 A Line is a light rail line running between Azusa and Long Beach via Downtown Los Angeles.
 B Line is a subway line running between North Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles.
 C Line 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 is a subway line running between the Mid-Wilshire district and Downtown Los Angeles. Most of its route is shared with the B Line. The line is currently being extended westward.
 E Line is a light rail line running between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles via Downtown Los Angeles.[9]
 K Line is a light rail line running between South Los Angeles and Inglewood, with a connection and route change to the C Line opening in 2024[10] and the LAX Automated People Mover opening in October 2025. [11]

Metro Bus[edit]

Metro Bus on Line 81

Metro is the primary bus operator in the Los Angeles Basin, the San Fernando Valley, and the western San Gabriel Valley. Other regions of Los Angeles County, including the Antelope Valley and the eastern San Gabriel Valley, are served by separate bus operators, which receive some funding from Metro.

As of June 2023, the Metro Bus system includes 117 routes, serving over 11,000 bus stops.[12] Most Metro Bus lines are local services, stopping at marked stops approximately every two blocks. Limited-stop Metro Rapid services stop only at major intersections, and Metro Express services utilize the extensive Southern California freeways to provide nonstop service between regional destinations.[13]

Metro Busway[edit]

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

Metro Busway is a bus rapid transit system with two lines operating on dedicated or shared-use busways. The system runs a total of 55.7 miles (89.6 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 is a bus rapid transit line running between Chatsworth and North Hollywood.
 J Line is a bus rapid transit line running between El Monte, Downtown Los Angeles, and Harbor Gateway, with some trips continuing to 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[edit]

Fares and fare collection[edit]

The base fare for Metro services, including local and express buses and Metro Rail, is $1.75. Metro introduced daily and weekly fare caps in July 2023, replacing daily, weekly, and monthly passes. With fare capping, the cost of each trip is credited towards the cost of a daily or weekly unlimited pass, automatically ensuring that all passengers pay the lowest fare possible.[18] Discounted or free fares are available for seniors, disabled individuals, Medicare recipients, low-income individuals, and students.[19]

The primary method of payment for Metro fares is the TAP card, a contactless stored-value card. TAP cards are valid on Metro buses and trains, and on 25 other transit agencies in Los Angeles County.[20] TAP cards are required for Metro Rail trips, free bus transfers, and fare capping; however, single-ride bus fares can still be paid in cash. TAP cards can be purchased at station fare machines, local vendors, online, and at Metro Customer Care Centers.[21]

Fare gates are installed at all B, C, D and K Line stations, along with select A and E Line stations. Fare gates were added after 2007 to reduce fare evasion.[22] At the time, the decision was criticized for its cost and perceived ineffectiveness.[23]

Fare type Regular Senior (62+)

Disabled Medicare

Student K-12/



Low Income (LIFE)
Base fare $1.75 $0.35 (off-peak)

$0.75 (peak)

$0.75 20 Free Rides then Regular fare
1-Day Cap $5 $2.50 $2.50
7-Day Cap $18 $5 $6
Metro-to-Muni Transfer $0.50 $0.25


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 Busway 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:[24]

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


Day-to-day operations of Metro is overseen by Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Wiggins. Metro is a joint powers authority governed by a board of directors with 14 members, 13 of whom are voting members.[25] 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.[26] 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.

Members of Metro staff also sit on the boards of other joint powers authorities across the region, including the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency, the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority, the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, the High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Agency,[27] and the Inglewood Transit Connector Joint Powers Authority.

Board of Directors[edit]


  • Janice Hahn, Los Angeles County Board Supervisor, District 4

Vice Chair

  • Fernando Dutra, Appointee of Los Angeles County City Selection Committee, Southeast Long Beach sector, City of Whittier, District 4

2nd Vice Chair

  • Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Appointee of the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles

Executive Board Members

  • Kathryn Barger, Los Angeles County Board Supervisor, District 5
  • James T. Butts Jr., Appointee of Los Angeles County City Selection Committee, Southwest Corridor sector, Mayor of Inglewood
  • Lindsey Horvath, Los Angeles County Board Supervisor, District 3
  • Paul Krekorian, Appointee of the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, District 2
  • Holly J. Mitchell, Los Angeles County Board Supervisor, District 2
  • Ara Najarian, Appointee of Los Angeles County City Selection Committee, North County/San Fernando Valley sector, City of Glendale, At Large District
  • Tim Sandoval, Appointee of Los Angeles County City Selection Committee, San Gabriel Valley sector, Mayor of Pomona
  • Hilda L. Solis, Los Angeles County Board Supervisor, District 1
  • Katy Yaroslavsky, Appointee of the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, District 5
  • Karen Bass, Mayor of Los Angeles

Ex-officio Board Member

  • Gloria Roberts, Appointee of the Governor of California, Caltrans District 7 Director


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[28]
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.[29] 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.[30]

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.[31] Increased low income ridership is a significant factor because that focus group tends to makes up the majority of public transit ridership.[31] Favorable environmental and health factors are also relevant factors because they indicate a positive relationship within the space developed and its residents.[29]


E Line train arriving at La Cienega/Jefferson station.

Most of Metro's bus fleet is powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), the largest such fleet in the United States.[32] 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 substantial number of battery electric buses, notably on the G Line busway which has seen all CNG buses replaced with battery electric ones,[33] and has plans to convert into a fully electric bus system.[34] 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 K 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 and D 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[edit]

Metro is currently implementing its "NextGen Bus Plan," a major restructuring of the agency's routes. The plan eliminates most of the Metro Rapid routes and 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 minutes 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.

D Line Extension[edit]

Section 1 of the D Line Extension will add three new subway stations to the D Line at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax, and Wilshire/La Cienega. Construction on Section 1 began in 2014 and is expected to be complete in 2025.[35] Section 2 to Century City is expected to be completed in 2026,[36] followed by Section 3 to Westwood in 2027.[37]

Foothill Extension[edit]

Metro is constructing an extension of the A Line to Pomona–North station. The first phase of this extension, to Azusa, opened on March 5, 2016. Groundbreaking for the second phase to Pomona occurred on December 2, 2017, with construction starting in July 2020. The project is expected to be completed in January 2025.[38]

Aerial Rapid Transit[edit]

Metro, in partnership with LA Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies LLC, is currently proposing to construct an aerial gondola system to connect Dodger Stadium and the stadium's surrounding communities to Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. When completed, the approximate 5,000 people per hour, per direction aerial gondola is expected to transport visitors from Union Station to Dodger Stadium in approximately seven minutes. Additionally, the proposed project would also include several improvements to the nearby Los Angeles State Historic Park.[39]

Long-range Measure M plans[edit]

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.[40] The tax is also expected to support over 778,000 jobs in the Los Angeles area and $79.3 billion in economic output.[41]

Projects to be funded by Measure M, not previously mentioned above, include:[40][42]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e "Facts At A Glance". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 2023. Archived from the original on March 19, 2023. Retrieved June 22, 2023.
  2. ^ "Transit Ridership Report First Quarter 2024" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. May 23, 2024. Retrieved May 31, 2024.
  3. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2023" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. March 4, 2024. Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  4. ^ "California Code, Public Utilities Code – PUC § 130051.10". Findlaw. Archived from the original on November 16, 2021. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  5. ^ metro.net history. Retrieved April 4, 2004. Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Hebert, Ray (December 27, 1976). "New Agencies to Face Task of Unifying Jumbled Transit Plans". Los Angeles Times. p. 16. Archived from the original on January 26, 2023. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  7. ^ "Help & Contacts Archived October 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine." Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved on March 18, 2010.
  8. ^ "Sustainability". Archived from the original on January 27, 2023. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  9. ^ Nelson, Laura J. (February 25, 2016). "Metro Expo Line to begin service to Santa Monica on May 20". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 2, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  10. ^ https://www.metro.net/projects/airport-metro-connector/
  11. ^ https://laist.com/news/transportation/los-angeles-lax-travel-airport-automated-people-mover-delay-fitch-ratings-train-apm
  12. ^ "Metro Facts At A Glance". Metro. June 2023. Archived from the original on March 19, 2023. Retrieved June 22, 2023.
  13. ^ "How to Ride Metro Bus". Metro. Retrieved May 9, 2024.
  14. ^ "Metro Bike Share: About". January 27, 2015. Archived from the original on October 21, 2018. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  15. ^ Uranga, Rachel (September 14, 2023). "The $1 ride that costs Metro $43. Why some want to keep it going". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  16. ^ "Board of Directors - LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency". Orange County Transportation Authority. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  17. ^ "LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency Business Plan FY 2022-23 - FY 2023-24" (PDF). Orange County Transportation Authority. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  18. ^ Linton, Joe (June 7, 2023). "L.A. Metro Fare Capping Starts July 1". Streetsblog California. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  19. ^ "Fare Capping". LA Metro. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  20. ^ "TAP Agencies". www.taptogo.net. Retrieved July 2, 2023.
  21. ^ "Fares". LA Metro. Retrieved July 2, 2023.
  22. ^ "Metro Rail Gating Study" (PDF). November 15, 2007. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  23. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 25, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "Ridership Statistics". www.metro.net. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  25. ^ "California Code, Public Utilities Code – PUC § 130051". Findlaw. Archived from the original on March 2, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  26. ^ "Metro in Transition". Streetsblog Los Angeles. December 2, 2009. Archived from the original on November 12, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  27. ^ High Desert Corridor JPA Homepage
  28. ^ "FY20 Adopted Budget" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. July 1, 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 14, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  29. ^ 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. Archived from the original on July 20, 2021. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  30. ^ "Twenty-First Century Urbanism", Street Level: Los Angeles in the Twenty-First Century, Routledge, pp. 97–123, April 1, 2016, doi:10.4324/9781315611051-6, ISBN 978-1-315-61105-1, archived from the original on March 23, 2023, retrieved July 20, 2021
  31. ^ a b Mohiuddin, Hossain (February 19, 2021). "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.
  32. ^ "Metro Gets Grant For Purchase of More Clean-Air Buses". Los Angeles County Metro. April 26, 2006. Retrieved January 7, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  33. ^ Sotero, Dave (October 13, 2021). "L.A. Metro Now Running all Zero-Emission Electric Buses on the G (Orange) Line in the San Fernando Valley". LA Metro. Retrieved September 14, 2023.
  34. ^ "Fresh Air". Archived from the original on March 8, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  35. ^ @numble (November 27, 2023). "October 2023 status report for LA Metro's D Line Extension Section 1. 88.66% as of 10/27/23, +0.6% since 9/29/23. Contractor's forecast completion date is 6/17/25, 25 days later than last forecast" (Tweet). Retrieved November 28, 2023 – via Twitter.
  36. ^ @numble (November 27, 2023). "October 2023 status report for LA Metro's D Line Extension Section 2. 61.9% as of 10/27/23, +1.3% since 9/29/23. Contractor forecasts completion to be 6 days later than prior forecast (now late September 2026)" (Tweet). Retrieved November 28, 2023 – via Twitter.
  37. ^ @numble (November 27, 2023). "October 2023 status report for LA Metro's D Line Extension Section 3. 50.85% as of 10/27/23, +0.5% since 9/29/23" (Tweet). Retrieved November 28, 2023 – via Twitter.
  38. ^ @numble (November 27, 2023). "October 2023 status report for LA Metro's Foothill Gold Line Extension. 79.4% as of 10/31/23, +~1.4% since 9/30/23. Forecast completion on 12/14/24" (Tweet). Retrieved November 28, 2023 – via Twitter.
  39. ^ "Aerial Rapid Transit". Los Angeles Metro. Archived from the original on November 15, 2022. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  40. ^ a b "Measure M: Metro's Plan to Transform Transportation in LA". The Plan. Archived from the original on November 9, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  41. ^ "Fresh Air". Archived from the original on March 8, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  42. ^ "Measure M project descriptions". The Source. November 9, 2016. Archived from the original on November 11, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  43. ^ "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. October 6, 2019. Archived from the original on October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.

External links[edit]