Silver Line (Los Angeles Metro)
|J Line (Silver)|
Metro Silver Line bus on the Harbor Transitway
|Other name(s)||Silver Line (2009–2020)|
|Type||Bus rapid transit|
|System||Los Angeles Metro Busway|
El Monte Station|
Harbor Gateway Transit Center (route 910)
San Pedro (route 950)
|Stations||11 (also makes additional street stops)|
|Daily ridership||16,703 (April 2019, weekday avg.) |
|Line number||910 & 950|
|Opened||December 13, 2009|
|Character||Shared-use busways with some city streets|
|Depot(s)||Division 9 (El Monte) & Division 18 (Carson)|
|Rolling stock||35 NABI 45C-LFW buses|
|Line length||38 mi (61.2 km)|
The J Line (formerly the Silver Line) is a 38 mi (61 km) limited-stop bus route with some bus rapid transit features that runs between El Monte, Downtown Los Angeles and Gardena, with some trips continuing to San Pedro. It is one of the two lines in the Metro Busway system and is operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).
The J Line offers frequent, all-stops service along the El Monte Busway and the Harbor Transitway, two grade-separated transit facilities built into the Southern California freeway system. Along the route, buses serve several of the region's major transportation centers including El Monte Station, Union Station, 7th Street/Metro Center station, and the Harbor Gateway Transit Center.
The J Line was created as part of the conversion of the El Monte Busway and the Harbor Transitway from lanes reserved for buses and high occupancy vehicles into the Metro ExpressLanes that allow solo drivers to pay a toll to use lanes. The tolls collected have been used to operate the J Line and to improve amenities at stops.
As J Line buses travel along the El Monte Busway and the Harbor Transitway they serve stations built into the center or side of the roadway. There is a 3.6 mi (5.8 km) gap between the western end of El Monte Busway and the northern end of the Harbor Transitway in Downtown Los Angeles, where J Line buses travel on surface streets, making a limited number of stops.
Two services are operated under the J Line name:
- Route 910 operates with daily 24-hour service serving only the portion of the route between El Monte station, Downtown Los Angeles and the Harbor Gateway Transit Center.
- Route 950 operates with daily service serving the entire route between El Monte station, Downtown Los Angeles and San Pedro.
The eastern section of J Line route runs on the El Monte Busway between the El Monte Station in El Monte and Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. The southern section of the route runs on the Harbor Transitway between 37th Street/USC station in Downtown Los Angeles and the Harbor Gateway Transit Center near the city of Carson. Buses travel between the eastern and southern sections along 3.6 mi (5.8 km) of surface streets in Downtown Los Angeles where Silver Line buses make a limited amount of stops (11 in each direction) near major employment centers, tourist destinations and Metro Rail stations. Buses utilize about 2.5 mi (4.0 km) of bus only lanes in each direction to speed trips across Downtown Los Angeles.
Silver Line route 950 trips continue south of the Harbor Gateway Transit Center along the Harbor Freeway to San Pedro traveling in general purpose freeway lanes and making two stops en route at stations located on the side of the freeway near off and on ramps. In San Pedro, Silver Line route 950 buses once again travel along surface streets, serving the Harbor Beacon Park & Ride and making frequent stops along Pacific Avenue.
|5:00A – 10:00A||4–10||20|
|10:00A – 3:00P||15|
|3:00P – 6:00P||4–10|
|6:00P – 8:00P||10–20|
|8:00P – 9:00P||20||40–60|
|9:00P – 1:00A||40–60|
|1:00A – 5:00A (910 only)||60||60|
The Silver Line charges a premium fare (which is a different fare structure from most other Metro routes).   Metro day passes are accepted as full fare, but all other pass holders must pay for an upgraded 1 zone pass or pay the additional premium charge at the time of boarding.
Like the other Metro Rail and Metro Busway lines, the Silver Line operates on a proof-of-payment system.  Passengers may board at either the front or rear door of Silver Line buses and validate their Transit Access Pass (TAP) electronic fare card at readers located on board the bus, near the door. Metro's fare inspectors randomly inspect buses to ensure passengers have a valid fare product on their TAP card.
TAP vending machines are available at most Silver Line stations (except Carson and Pacific Coast Highway) and are located near most street stops in Downtown Los Angeles. But, because vending machines are not available at all stations and street stops, passengers who need to purchase a card or add funds can do so at the farebox on board the bus. None of the other Metro Rail or Metro Busway lines offer onboard TAP sales.
As of December 15, 2014 the fares for the Silver Line are:
|Fare Type ||Regular||Senior (62+) / Disabled / Medicare||College / Vocational||Student|
|Metro Day Pass
(Honored as Full Fare)
|Metro 30-Day + Zone 1 Pass
(Honored as Full Fare)
|Metro Discounted 30-Day Pass
(Honored as Full Fare)
Metro and Foothill Transit offer a reciprocal fare program called "Silver 2 Silver" where pass holders may ride either Silver Line or Silver Streak buses between Downtown Los Angeles and the El Monte Station.  Passengers who have a Metro 7-Day or 30-Day pass, an EZ transit pass, or a Foothill Transit Local 31-Day pass are all charged additional when they board a Silver Line or Silver Streak bus.
|Station/Street Stop||Services||Image||Connections||Stop type||Station Parking||Date opened||City/ Neighborhood|
|El Monte Station||Yes||Yes||Upper Level:
|Station||1,153 Spaces||1973||El Monte|
|Cal State LA||Yes||Yes||
|Station||(none)||East Los Angeles|
|Los Angeles County & USC Medical Center||Yes||Yes||
|El Monte Busway/Alameda
( Union Station)
|Street Stop||Nearby Paid Parking (Independent)||Downtown Los Angeles|
( Civic Center/Grand Park)
|Yes||Yes||Street stop||(none)||December 13, 2009|
( Civic Center)
||Street stop||(none)||April 30, 2012 (Flower/23rd)
June 23, 2013
|North University Park|
||Street stop||(none)||June 26, 2011|
|Station||(none)||June 1996||Exposition Park|
|Station||151 Spaces||South Los Angeles|
|Station||338 Spaces||Harbor Gateway|
|Harbor Gateway Transit Center||Yes||Yes||Station||980 Spaces|
||Street stop||(none)||December 13, 2015||Carson|
||Station||140 Spaces||June 1996|
|Pacific Coast Highway||No||Yes||
|Harbor Beacon Park & Ride||No||Yes||
||Street stop||280 Spaces||December 13, 2015||San Pedro|
The El Monte Busway opened along Interstate 10 in 1973. As the new Harbor Transitway was under construction in the early 1990s, Metro drew up plans to offer a unified bus rapid transit service along both corridors, connected by street running through Downtown Los Angeles; however, eventually the agency chose to increase service on the existing Harbor Freeway express lines and operate each as independent routes, mostly at peak hours. Ridership was radically lower than expected: planners had projected that 65,200 passengers would travel along the Harbor Transitway each day, but after 10 years ridership fell far below those predictions, with the route seeing just 3,000 passengers per weekday in 2004. 
In the early 2000s, Metro began depicting the two busways on its Metro Rail maps, and in 2008, Metro once again looked at the concept of linking them with a "Dual Hub Bus Rapid Transit" route.  The service was rolled out as the Silver Line in December 2009. Five Metro Express lines were truncated to terminate at either Harbor Gateway Transit Center or the El Monte station, where passengers would transfer to the Silver Line to continue into Downtown Los Angeles. 
As part of the Metro ExpressLanes project to convert the El Monte Busway and the Harbor Transitway from lanes reserved for buses and high occupancy vehicles into high occupancy toll lanes that allow solo drivers to pay a toll to use lanes, aging stations were refurbished and frequencies on the route were improved; the most drastic change was the complete reconstruction of El Monte Station which was demolished and entirely rebuilt, reopening in 2012.  LADOT added bus priority to traffic lights to improve on-time performance in Downtown Los Angeles in the same year. 
In 2015, Metro integrated the last remaining Metro Express route on the Harbor Transitway, the 450X to San Pedro, into the Silver Line. Originally a new express Silver Line service was added that served San Pedro and skipped many Harbor Transitway stations; but by June 2017, San Pedro-bound buses were serving all stations, the increase in speed being deemed not enough to justify increased crowding on local buses. 
A new transitway station for the Metro Silver Line and other transit buses operating on the El Monte Busway is being built to the south of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza in the median of the El Monte Busway. The project has been planned for years but has been beset by delays and an increasing budget.
When completed, the station will allow buses traveling in both directions on the busway to serve Union Station with a minimum of delay for passengers for other destinations.   When the project is completed, a bridge will allow passengers to walk directly from the Patsaouras Transit Plaza to the busway station, thereby eliminating a long, convoluted walk across the Union Station property to the current stop located on the El Monte Busway at Alameda.
Construction on the station started in early 2017. Work on the station was halted on April 24, 2018, when archaeological and Native American artifacts were discovered at the site. Archaeological investigation field work was completed nearly a year later on April 12, 2019. Construction is now expected to resume in May 2019, with construction scheduled to be completed in Summer of 2020. 
The project is now estimated to cost $51 million, well more than double the original estimate. The project is funded by tolls collected as a part of the Metro ExpressLanes project and a grant from the U.S. government.  
Ridership has steadily grown on the Silver Line each year.
An estimated 6,612 passengers rode the Silver Line each weekday in January 2010 (the first full month of operation) and ridership has grown steadily each year since.  Ridership set a new all-time high in February 2016 with an estimated 16,884 passengers riding the line each weekday.
The on time performance of the Metro Silver Line is currently around 82.4%, defined as being less than 5 minutes behind schedule.  That places it far behind the Metro Rail lines (99% on time) and Orange Line (94% on time), but better than an average Metro bus route (80.6% on time). On time performance benefits from the active traffic management system installed as part of the Metro ExpressLanes project.
Seven passengers waiting on the northbound platform of the Harbor Freeway Station received critical and serious injuries when a private vehicle entered the station and struck the platform on February 22, 2012.  After the accident Metro studied the design of the Silver Line stations and decided to add concrete filled metal bollards at the platform edge of a number of stations during August 2012.  The bollards are spaced close enough to stop a car from entering the platform, but have enough room to allow multiple buses to stop at the platform and lower the accessibility ramp.
The Metro Silver Line is operated with a fleet of dedicated NABI Metro 45C "CompoBus" coaches. Each 45-foot (14 m) long bus is made of light composite materials and is powered by CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). Coaches are painted or vinyl wrapped with a special grey livery that matches the design of newer Metro Rail vehicles and the coaches used on Metro Orange Line. Most coaches also have a vinyl decal that says "A faster way to Downtown: Metro Silver Line." 
- "Metro Ridership". Metro.net. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
- Scauzillo, Steve (December 13, 2018). "Because they're out of colors, LA Metro will rename all its train lines and rapid busways with letters in 2019". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
- Newton, Damien (November 20, 2018). "Metro Moves Ahead with Changes to How They Name Rail/BRT". Streetsblog LA. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
- "Meet the Line Letters: Information for Metro Employees" (PDF). LACMTA. December 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
- "Guide to the Metro Silver Line". The Source.
- "Line 910 fare structure" (PDF). October 15, 2009.
- "Metro Silver Line | All-Door Boarding Pilot". www.metro.net. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
- Weikel, Dan (December 2, 2014). "A cleaned-up, safer Harbor Transitway puts more commuters on the bus". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
- "Dual Hub Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) El Monte Station to Artesia Transit Center" (PDF). November 20, 2008.
- "SB910 Feb09 public hearing" (PDF). February 1, 2009.
- "Metro Silver Line Update Report" (PDF). January 19, 2012.
- "Metro Silver Line (service tab)".
- "Patsaouras Plaza/El Monte Busway Station". EE&K Architects. Perkins Eastman.
- "Patsaouras Plaza Connector (Conceptual Plan)". Flickr. May 12, 2009.
- "Patsaouras Plaza Busway". www.metro.net. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
- McCarty Carino, Meghan (January 2, 2017). "Metro starts work on pedestrian bridge at LA's Union Station". KPCC. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
- Clarke, Richard (May 2019). "Program Management Major Project Status Report" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
- Mendelson, Aaron (February 19, 2015). "How late are Los Angeles buses and trains? Depends which line you're riding". KPCC – Southern California Public Radio. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
- "Source: Accident on The Harbor Transitway". February 22, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
- "Harbor Freeway Metro Silver Line Station platform improvements" (PDF). April 20, 2012.
- "Silverline bus".
- https://www.metro.net/board/Items/2011/4_April/20110420AHCPItem1.pdf[ permanent dead link]
- https://www.metro.net/board/Items/2011/7_July/20110708OtherSectorSBAItem6.pdf[ permanent dead link]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to LACMTA Silver Line.|
- Metro Silver Line timetable – as of June 2013.
- Silver Line Map – Overall map of the Metro Silver Line.
- Silver Line destinations – Metro Silver Line destinations guide (English)
- Silver Line destinations – Metro Silver Line destinations guide (Spanish)
- A recent report of the Metro Silver Line
- Metro's official release about the New Metro Silver Line Released on December 9, 2009.
- Metro's proposed security for the Metro Silver Line stations
- CBS news article about the Metro Silver Line Accident at Harbor Freeway Station
- NBC news article about the Metro Silver Line Accident at Harbor Freeway Station
- Metro Silver Line and Foothill Silver Streak Coordination