When the much-anticipated opening of Phase 1 of the Exposition Light Rail Line occurs on Saturday, patrons will experience a fast, convenient and comfortable ride from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City, and vice versa, without the dreaded inconvenience of Los Angeles transportation–traffic.

Whether the destination is Downtown, the Staples Center, the University of Southern California, the County Natural History Museum, or the Crenshaw District, the Exposition Rail Line will put you right in the mix.

At least that is what occurred during a lengthy hour-and-a-half test train ride recently. The ride on April 19 included updates from Metro staff regarding safety, operations, and the connectivity of the Expo Line to the Greater Los Angeles region. The Metro tour for the media and others focused on the diverse communities the Expo Line will serve. The tour began at the Crenshaw/Exposition station, continued to the La Cienega/Jefferson station, to Downtown and ended at Crenshaw/Exposition, allowing an up-close and personal preview of the 8.6 mile light rail line.

“The Expo Line will connect the communities of Culver City, the Crenshaw District, Mid-City, and Exposition Park to a larger network of travel for the first time in the modern era,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Art Leahy. “And it will provide alternatives to the traffic congestion on the westside of L.A. by giving commuters the option to park their cars and take advantage of the train.”

During the tour, the group also learned that Metro’s community relations staff has been actively engaging the community since April 2010 by educating the public about the line and rail safety.

Metro has distributed more than 63,000 safety flyers to communities within a two-block radius of the line and continues to distribute flyers door-to-door, as well as offer safety presentations throughout the community.

Participants were given the opportunity to exit the trains and explore three of the 12 stations–Exposition/Crenshaw, where the tour began; the La Cienega/Jefferson station which is as far west as the train goes until the Culver City station is functional in May/June; and last, the 7th Street/Metro Center station which is the hub where passengers can connect to a number of other rail lines.

Once the Expo line opens, it will run seven days a week from 4:30 a.m. until 1:30 a.m. with fares equal to other rails at $1.50 per boarding, or $5.00 for an all-day pass. This weekend, however, fares will be free from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the Expo line exclusively.

Throughout the tour, the Metro staff was available to answer other questions and provide important information about Phase I of the Expo Line. Phase II of the Metro Expo Line, a $1.5 billion 6.6-mile extension from Culver City to Santa Monica will have seven stations and is expected to be completed in 2016.