Metro Blue Line: Work complete on southern portion of Metro's oldest light rail line

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- Leaders from across Los Angeles County announced in a press conference Wednesday the completion of what they called much-needed improvements to half of the Blue Line, Metro's oldest light rail line.

Compton Mayor Aja Brown called the Blue Line the "work horse" of the entire system and said Compton residents comprise a large part of it.

"Today is not only about improvement and beautification, but it's also about equity and environmental justice," Brown said.

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said this has been a long time coming.

"Communities up and down this Blue Line absolutely deserve a 21st century transit option that is comfortable and reliable," Hahn said.

On June 1, the southern portion of the Blue Line started up again. John Riley, who is nearly completely blind, said he counts on public transportation daily.

"Well when it open back up, I be like hip hip hooray," Riley said.

Riley took advantage of the shuttle service from Compton to Long Beach during construction.

"It's convenient," Riley said.

While the second half of the $350 million project continued on the northern section, riders would have access to a shuttle services from Compton to downtown L.A.

Also new - customer information panels providing train and bus information in real-time and alerts in case of delays or changes.

Director of marketing with Metro Marketing, Lan-Chi Lam, gave a demonstration of the new panels.

"The screen is ADA-compliant so we have a wheelchair button here when you press it, everything comes down to wheelchair height," Lam said.

Riley was excited about the changes, but he said they didn't completely meet his needs. He'd like to hear information from these new touch screens.

"I'm excited that it's going to open back up, but I think it should be a little more upgraded for those such as myself who are visually impaired," Riley said.

The Mayor of Long Beach said Wednesday, though work on the southern part of the rail line was complete, riders could still expect painting, fencing and more landscaping work at stations along the line.

The entire project was scheduled to be complete by fall 2019.
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