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Metro's Orange Line debuts, offers free rides

June 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Metro's Orange Line busway is in full swing on Saturday and commuters can ride for free to kick off the grand opening.

The extension from Canoga Park to Chatsworth provides a key transfer point and connection for Metrolink and Amtrak riders. Commuters will be privy to free rides from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The entire busway covers 14 miles, connecting the west San Fernando Valley to the Redline subway in North Hollywood. The extension includes three new stations at Sherman Way, Roscoe Boulevard and NordHoff Street as well as new platforms at the Canoga and Chatsworth stations.

The extension was finished 3 1/2 years ahead of schedule and came in nearly $62 million under budget at $154 million. Voters approved an initiative that raised the sales tax in L.A. County by a half cent to pay for the project.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday at the Sherman Way Station on Canoga Avenue.

Metro estimates the new extension will bring 9,000 additional riders in the short term and hit 45,000 daily riders by 2030.