All Los Angeles County rail lines will begin running until 2 a.m. on weekends at the end of this month, a move officials said on Friday reflects the city's "vibrant" night life and an expanding public transit system.
Beginning the last weekend in July, riders on the Red, Blue, Gold, Purple, Green and Expo lines will be able to catch a train every 20 minutes until 2 a.m., Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Marc Littman said.
Metro will also run the Orange Line busway in the San Fernando Valley until 2:40 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Officials are also considering extending the hours of the Silver Line busway, which runs from Harbor Gateway through downtown and east to El Monte.
"It's a reflection that Los Angeles is changing. There's a vibrant night life in L.A. County from Long Beach to Culver City, downtown, Pasadena, North Hollywood," Littman said. "We don't roll up our sidewalks at 5 o'clock and not just at Staples Center."
The decision to extend the hours was made by Metro CEO Art Leahy, who aims eventually to run the lines 24 hours a day, Littman said.
Metro tried later hours on the Red Line during the 2008 winter holidays, but the operating expenses were covered by Hollywood-area businesses and the money ran out. The exact cost of extending service on all the routes this time is unclear, but Littman said it will be "marginal."
The last Gold Line train from Union Station to Pasadena currently leaves at 11:54 p.m. The last Red Line train to North Hollywood leaves downtown at 12:17 a.m.
Littman said the extended hours would be good for the economy, especially bars, restaurants and the entertainment industry, allowing theater- goers to catch a drink in Hollywood after a play or movie and "not worry you're going to turn into a pumpkin and miss your train."
The later service will also benefit public safety by removing drunk drivers from the roads and providing transportation to a number of hospitals in Hollywood, Littman said. Running trains later in the night is the most common request Metro officials get.
"We're trying to be responsive to the public," Littman said.