Packing a full house on Saturday, Sept. 19, citizens throughout Los Angeles County united to celebrate the much-awaited arrival of the Foothill Gold Line in Downtown Azusa’s dedication ceremony.
County officials were eager to show their support for the success at the opening ceremony of the Metro Trail. The project generated 22.4 million hours of work and produced 7,000 jobs.
Emcee Frank Mottek of CBS commenced the program by saluting the audience for “never giving up hope and dedication to the station.”
The Gold Line, at 11.5 miles, has six stations at Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, Downtown Azusa and an APU/Citrus station. Passengers will now be able to travel farther and faster than ever before.
“We came together to make this day possible,” Mayor Joseph Rocha of Azusa declared.
The Gold Line’s Foothill extension consists of two local Metro rail stations: the Azusa Downtown and it’s neighboring APU/Citrus College station. Officials emphasized the regular 210 freeway traffic as the main reason people should trade the freeway for the trains.
Congresswoman Judy Chu touted the train as a success for the Azusa Pacific and Citrus College communities.
“With Foothill Gold Line at Azusa Pacific and Citrus College, this line is now the Brain Train,” Chu said.
The “Brain Train” is dubbed as such because it connects a wide array of institutions of higher education including California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Citrus Community College, Azusa Pacific University and California State Polytechnic University.
Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, is also aboard the “Brain Train” excitement as he said to expect 66,000 people a day along these lines. Garcetti referred to himself as a “public transport advocate” and spoke in Spanglish as he further explained future plans of train expansion to Montclair and other directions. He hopes the train may be able to “take you to the beach next year.”
APU’s vice president emeritus, Cliff Hamlow, representing the university’s President Jon Wallace, closed the ceremony. Hamlow said Wallace is “very excited about [the Gold Line]” as well.
Students at both APU and Citrus have anticipated a faster and better way to reach neighboring cities. With daily unavoidable traffic on the 210 freeway, getting around LA County alone can be a hassle.
“Dr. Wallace believes student transportation is more than a car… That is why he has been a supporter [of the Gold Line] because it will help our students’ opportunities from a social and educational research standpoint,” said Hamlow.
These include professional opportunities such as, internships and job offers, which are easier to reach as a result of the Gold Line bridge.
Soon, students will be able to take the train for Hollywood day trips, among other events and activities in the city center. The new form of transportation also allows students to stop and visit friends or family by arriving at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles for a day of adventure.
Mayor Rocha recommends the Gold Line as opposed to driving, which will allow students to invest more time into thinking about their life.
“You can sit down, do homework, talk with friends [and] your parents… for me, it’s a time to connect with the Lord more,” Rocha said.
In comparison to other public transportation such as taxi cabs, buses and Uber, the metro remains the cheapest way to go and provides a straight shot to farther destinations, added the mayor.
Rail Equipment and Maintenance Instructor Jose Gonzalez tells students, “It’ll definitely be a great benefit for your studies, saves gas and takes away the stress from driving and commuting to work.” Azusa PD Captain Sam Gonzalez encouraged students to “get out of your cars and get on the Gold Line.”
College students are eligible for cheaper fares with an application, “proof of enrollment in an accredited school in LA County” and a certain number of enrolled units. A regular month TAP card is rated at $100 and with a discount, students can ride monthly for only $43. A regular day pass is $7, but for students, it’s $6. Senior citizens and the disabled are also eligible for discounted fares with a one-day pass at $2.50, and a monthly pass at $20.
The Downtown Azusa Station is located right next to Target, and the APU/Citrus College Station is at the north intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Citrus Avenue.
The Metro Gold Line is expected to begin operation in early 2016.