FYF Fest: Is Late-Night Train Service a Sign for an Expanded Metro Schedule?

Gold Line Metro I photo by Paul Bailey, creative commons

In hopes of preventing a potentially hectic post-party commute, the organizers of this weekend's FYF Fest have asked the Los Angeles Metro system to extend its rail service hours.

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The one-day music festival, which hosted an estimated 20,000 people last year, will take place at the Los Angeles Historic State Park in downtown LA tomorrow, September 3, from 12:00pm-12:00am.

To coordinate with the festival's timing, Gold Line trains will run slightly later. The last train of the night will leave Chinatown station at 12:30am. It usually leaves just before midnight. The last Red Line train will wait to leave Union Station at 12:45am. Both lines will be serviced by extra-long trains throughout the evening.

You can view a summary of the service changes here.

Those additional thirty minutes will make it easier for festival-goers to stay for the entire event. According to a statement on FYF Fest's website, "It is important for the festival to make it work so that attendees can stay till the very end and still hitch a ride home without worry of being stuck in downtown."

To strike this deal, FYF Fest promoters covered the Metro's projected added service costs.

"It is expensive to run additional service," Helen Ortiz Gilstrap, a spokesperson for Metro, tells us over the phone. "It isn't just the operator of the train. It is the control center, the folks who are manning the station, the people who clean, etc."

"All of the monies that are collected go to services rendered," she adds.

Gilstrap says that while Metro has heard requests for later service hours on rail lines, especially for those that connect Hollywood and other nightlife destinations, budget issues are an impediment.

Metro does occasionally run special promotions, like giving free rides on Christmas and on New Year's Eve from 9pm-5am. These initiatives are individually considered and voted on by the board every year.

Metro's special events department is keen to work with event promoters for one-time service extensions, like the deal that they worked out with FYF Fest for tomorrow. But, as of now, they will not be financing them.

Elise Hennigan is a graduate student at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which has partnered with KCET-TV to produce this blog about policy in Los Angeles.

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If the board is concerned about reducing drunk driving, they should act to keep the metro rail running at least until 3am. Every day. That's a big, "IF". You have to ask yourself, as a board member, what's more important: preventing possible accidents, injuries, and deaths for people, or collecting the revenue from DUI infraction fines? Clearly, as a society, we've been made aware that drunk driving is an imminent, mortal hazard of the automotive situation. It should follow, then, without room for the writing of the above article or this comment, that the authorities would do everything in their power to curb it. By "curb it", of course, I mean to suggest actions that would stop it from happening, as opposed to actions that would punish people when they did it. But that's not what's going to happen, is it? It would have happened by now. People continue to go to bars and stay there until last call, and they have to get home at that time, and if they've been drinking all night and no train is running and its a choice between driving home, waiting 3 hours for a bus, and walking... what do you think is going to happen?

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We shouldn't put the blame or say there can be prevention of DUI's if Metro ran later trains. There's still DUI's in Chicago, SF and New York. What I find disappointing is when bars/clubs offer valet services or parking lots for their patrons. Isn't that encouraging drinking and driving? I live in downtown and do go out to Hollywood occassionally. Me and my friends will take the Red Line to Hollywood, but then split the $35 cab fare back. People should also look to taxis as reasonable public transit options besides trains as well. Also, we have 24 hour bus service on Sunset, Wilshire, and other major street corridors. There's options!