A Metro Expo Line train. Photo by John Schreiber.
A Metro Expo Line train. Photo by John Schreiber.

Sunday is the first day to buy paid parking passes to stash your car while riding the new Metro Expo Line extension to Santa Monica.

When the Metro Expo Line new extension begins running between Culver City and Santa Monica Friday, the stretch will feature something else new for the local transit system — paid parking.

Parking passes were expected to be snapped up at a fast rate as potential riders worry about what to do with their cars if they have to drive to a train station to travel on the new extended rail line. The start of service means riders can travel between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica – if they have some place to leave their cars near their stations.

Three stations on the Expo Line Phase 2 extension will have parking lots costing $2 a day as part of a two-year pilot program designed to respond to anticipated high demand for spaces. Monthly parking passes for the lots went on sale at www.lametroparking.net.

Transit riders with monthly parking permits will have access to select spaces on a first-come, first-served basis from 4 to 9 a.m. on weekdays. After 9 a.m., the permit spaces will be available to the general public.

The lots will be available at:

— 17th Street/Santa Monica College station: 67 spaces, of which 13 are reserved for monthly permits;

— Expo/Bundy station: 217 spaces, with 131 reserved for monthly permits; and

— Expo/Sepulveda station: 260 spaces, with 77 reserved for permits.

People without permits will pay the $2 daily parking rate, with parking attendants on hand to collect money and ensure motorists have TAP cards to ensure they are using the rail line. When an attendant is not on duty, payments must be made by phone or with a smartphone app that will be available when the extension opens May 20, according to Metro.

Metro officials said payment kiosks will be installed at the lots later this year, and technology is also being installed that will allow riders to check parking availability online.

“Metro’s transit parking program is an important first/last mile strategy and a key service to transit customers who rely on their car for a part of their daily commute,” Metro Chief Planning Officer Therese McMillan said. “Since Metro offers various parking facilities for its customers, we are working to maximize the availability and the quality of transit parking to improve the transit customer experience.”

Transit officials urged riders to walk, bike or take a bus to train stations to avoid the need for parking. They noted that most of the Expo Line extension includes a parallel walking and biking path, and new Expo stations include bike racks and lockers.

The $1.5 billion, 6.6-mile extension will stretch the Expo Line from its current terminus near Venice and Robertson boulevards in Culver City to a station at Colorado Boulevard and Fourth Street in downtown Santa Monica. The extension includes seven new stations, including stops in Palms, West Los Angeles and the area just north of Santa Monica College.

When the extension is opened, the Expo Line will stretch from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles, ending at the Seventh Street/Metro Center Station at Seventh and Flower Streets. Riders at that station can connect with the Blue, Red and Purple lines, taking them to Long Beach, Union Station, North Hollywood or the mid-Wilshire area.

Metro officials said the ride from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles is expected to take 46 minutes.

— Staff and wire reports


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