SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) --The Metro Expo Line extension from Culver City to Santa Monica is officially open for business! Now you can take the light rail all the way to the beach.
A train broke through a giant Metro banner Friday morning at the downtown Santa Monica station at 4th Street and Colorado Avenue. The new line opened to the public at noon with free rides through end of service Saturday.
It's the first time in more than six decades that the city has commuter train service since street cars stopped running back in the 1950s.
MORE: What you need to know about taking Metro to the beach
This $1.5 billion extension of the Expo Line is expected to offer Westside residents and commuters an alternate to sitting in congested freeway traffic.
The estimated travel time between downtown Los Angeles to the downtown Santa Monica station is between 47 and 48 minutes.
City leaders and hundreds of others gathered to celebrate the opening of the 6.6-mile extension. Officials believe as many as 45,000 riders will use the line every day.
"From the skyline of downtown to the shoreline of the Pacific, this Expo Line connects this city for the first time in 63 years," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Santa Monica resident Selma Khannourih said she's looking forward to taking advantage of the Expo Line and skipping out on the traffic.
"Just to get to downtown more easily and freely just to travel in the area. I hate sitting in the traffic. I'm just so excited that we don't have to do that anymore," she said.