Residents of Azusa and Foothill communities welcomed the Metro Rail Gold Line Foothill extension on Saturday, March 5.

The opening ceremony was hosted at the Duarte/City of Hope location, followed by station parties with live music, local businesses, food trucks and free rides on the Gold Line all day. Of the six locations, the APU/Citrus station and parking garage was the busiest.

“I love that Metro made rides free for the first day so people could explore the new stations and maybe try out the light rail for the first time,” former Glendora resident Michael Huipio said. “It was great to see each community celebrate with a festival around the stations.”

Huipio said he believes the extension will help ease traffic for people who commute to LA and Pasadena. He also sees it as beneficial for college students without cars, and thinks it will encourage more people to come to Azusa.

“High school students from farther west might now consider attending APU or Citrus because of how easy it is to commute from home,” Huipio said.

Huipio said the new Gold Line locations will double the frequency of his trips to the cities along the rail.

”[My favorite part of the opening is] the commitment and team effort of the many parties involved to bring this needed project to life and see it through to a successful completion,” said Rick Meade, Metro Los Angeles executive officer of program management.

Meade said he and the Metro staff are looking forward to the eased congestion on the 210 freeway, less pollution, more safety and the unity of the communities along the rail.

“[The extension will] absolutely provide an easier, safer and less costly way to travel from community to community, provide access to schools, medical facilities, art and cultural resources and connect to downtown Los Angeles,” Meade said.

APU junior global studies and pre-law double major Sarah Sullivan said her favorite part of the opening festival was watching local musicians and seeing the senior center and school groups perform. She said it was a great reminder of all the culture in Azusa.

“For the APU community, I think it will make programs like L.A. Term and L.A. 101 more accessible and will get students out of the APU bubble into the realities of living in a metropolitan area,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said she plans to use the metro rail weekly and is eager to use it to commute to internships and jobs.