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Purple Line (Los Angeles Metro)

The Metro Purple Line is a heavy rail subway line operating in Los Angeles, running between downtown and the Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown districts. It is one of six lines on the Metro Rail System, operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Metro Purple Line
Purple Line 
Union Station Metro Red & Purple Lines Station 2.JPG
Other name(s)D Line (beginning 2020)
TypeRapid transit
SystemLos Angeles Metro Rail
TerminiUnion Station
Daily ridership149,096
(July 2016; avg. weekday, combined with Metro Red Line)[1]
Line number805
WebsitePurple Line
OpenedJanuary 30, 1993; 26 years ago (1993-01-30)
(as a branch of the Red Line, renamed in 2006)
Owner Metro (LACMTA)
CharacterFully underground (except for yard)
Rolling stockBreda A650
(Base and option models; trains run in 4-6 car consists)
Line length6.4 mi (10.3 km)[2][3]
Number of tracks2
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
(standard gauge)
Electrification750 V DC third rail
Operating speed55 mph (89 km/h)
Route map

Amtrak Metrolink (California)
Union Station
Gold Line Silver Line FlyAway BusParking
US 101
Civic Center/Grand Park
Silver Line 
Pershing Square
Silver Line 
7th Street/Metro Center
A Line E Line Silver Line 
SR 110
Westlake/​MacArthur Park
Purple Line Extension
(under construction)
Purple Line Extension
(under construction)
Wilshire/La Brea
Wilshire/La Cienega
↑ opening 2023
↓ opening 2026
Century City
Westwood/VA Hospital
Handicapped/disabled access all stations are accessible

The Metro Purple Line is one of the city's two subway lines (along with the Metro Red Line). Although they separate west of Downtown Los Angeles, the two subway lines (Purple and Red) were originally branded as two branches of the Red Line. The Purple Line was instituted as its own line, separate from the Red Line, in 2006. As of October 2013, the combined Red and Purple lines averaged 169,478 boardings per weekday.[1] Out of the eight stations served, only two of them are exclusive to the Purple Line, with the other six shared with the Red Line.

Beginning in 2020, the line will be renamed to the D Line while retaining its purple coloring.[4][5][6]

Service descriptionEdit


Inside train fleet number #530 on the Metro Purple Line

The Metro Purple Line is a 6.4-mile (10.3 km) line[2] that begins at Union Station. At Union Station, passengers can connect to the Metro Silver Line bus rapid transit line, and the Metro Gold Line. The Purple Line travels southwest through Downtown Los Angeles, passing the Civic Center, Pershing Square (near the Historic Core) and the Fashion District. Passengers can connect to the Metro Silver Line (both directions) at Civic Center Station. At Pershing Square Station, passengers can board the northbound Metro Silver Line bus at Olive Street/5th Street. At 7th St/Metro Center Station, travelers can connect to the Metro Blue Line, Metro Expo Line and the Metro Silver Line. From here, the train travels between 7th Street and Wilshire Boulevard (and briefly Ingraham Street) west through Pico-Union and Westlake, arriving at Wilshire/Vermont in the city's Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown district. Up to this point, track is shared with the Metro Red Line: at Wilshire/Vermont, the two lines diverge. The Purple Line continues west for one additional mile, and terminates at Wilshire/Western.

Duplicate service on WilshireEdit

The Purple Line runs underground, below Wilshire Boulevard which is served on the surface by Metro Local route 20 and Metro Rapid route 720. Despite the duplicate service, Metro considers the redundant bus service justified because both bus routes run frequently from Downtown Los Angeles. Unlike the Purple Line, they run along the entire Wilshire corridor, west to Beverly Hills, Westwood and Santa Monica.

Hours of operationEdit

Trains run between approximately 4:45 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. daily, with late night weekend service running until approximately 2:00 a.m.[7]

First and last train times are as follows:

To/From Wilshire/Western

  • First Train to Union Station: 4:41 a.m.
  • Last Train to Union Station: 11:42 p.m. (2:01 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights)
  • First Train to Wilshire/Western: 4:56 a.m.
  • Last Train to Wilshire/Western: 11:27 p.m. (2:12 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights)

During the evenings Purple Line trains sometimes run as shuttles. Passengers must transfer to a Red Line train at Wilshire/Vermont. This will change once the Purple Line is extended to Westwood.


Trains on the Purple Line operate every ten minutes during peak hours Monday through Friday.[8] They operate every twelve minutes during the daytime weekdays and all day on the weekends after approximately 10 a.m. (with a 15-minute headway early Saturday and Sunday mornings). Night service can range between 20–30 minutes.


The Purple Line is utilized mostly as a downtown shuttle on its shared segment with the Red Line. The stub between Vermont and Western has a very low ridership. According to Metro Service Coordinator Conan Cheung, the stub is operating 11% full during peak hours, and even lower at other times.[9]


The current Purple Line is the product of a long-term plan to connect Downtown Los Angeles to central and western portions of the city with a heavy rail subway system. Originally planned in the 1980s to travel west down Wilshire Boulevard to Fairfax Avenue and then north to the San Fernando Valley, a methane explosion at a Ross Dress for Less clothing store near Fairfax in 1985, just as construction got underway, led to a legal prohibition on tunnelling in a large part of Mid-Wilshire. Instead, after some wrangling, a new route was chosen up Vermont Avenue to Hollywood Boulevard. However, a short one-mile branch down Wilshire from Vermont to Western was allowed to remain in the system.

The service currently designated as the Purple Line opened in two minimum operating segments:

The Vermont branch began service in 1999. Initially, both branches were designated as part of the Red Line, but in 2006 trains travelling between Union Station and Wilshire/Western were rebranded the Purple Line for greater clarity.

Extension to Wilshire/La CienegaEdit

Metro is now aiming to complete the subway to the Westside. The new project is called the Purple Line Extension (the project was previously called the Westside Subway Extension) and the first phase broke ground on November 7, 2014. Metro released the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) on March 19, 2012, and the first phase of the project (to Wilshire / La Cienega) was approved by Metro's Board of Directors on April 26, 2012.[12] Notice to proceed was issued to Tutor Perini on April 26, 2017 for phase two from Wilshire/La Cienega Station to Century City/Constellation Station. Pre-construction has commenced.[13] Metro is still attempting to obtain funding for phase 3 to Westwood/UCLA.[14]

In Beverly Hills, there was public opposition to the Purple Line Extension project, led by school board president Lisa Korbatov. The opposition existed because the project had planned to build a subway tunnel beneath Beverly Hills High School, and Korbatov, along with Beverly Hills residents, were concerned about student safety issues posed by such a tunnel. Korbatov gathered over 5,300 signed petitions to send to President Trump, urging him and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to withhold federal funding from the project. The subway project ultimately won in court, but Korbatov the school district sued in both state and federal court over environmental concerns for the project.[15][16]

Station listingEdit

Metro Purple Line train at Union Station. The Metro Red and Purple lines both end at Union Station,
the eastern terminus of both lines.
Metro Red & Purple Lines platform at 7th Street/Metro Center Station. At this transfer station passengers can connect to the Metro Silver Line at the street level, or the Metro Blue & Expo Lines above this platform.
Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro Red & Purple Lines station platform.

The following table lists the stations of the Purple Line, from east to west:

Station Connections Date Opened Station Parking City/ Neighborhood
Union Station January 30, 1993 Nearby Paid Parking (Independent) Downtown
Los Angeles
Civic Center/Grand Park
  •   Red Line 
  •   Silver Line 
  • Metro Local: 2, 4, 10, 14, 28, 30, 37, 40, 45, 48, 68, 70, 71, 76, 78, 79, 81, 83, 90, 91, 92, 94, 96, 302, 378
  • Metro Express: 442, 487, 489
  • Metro Rapid: 728, 733, 745, 770, 794
  • Antelope Valley Transit Authority: 785
  • City of Santa Clarita Transit: 799
  • Foothill Transit: Silver Streak, 493, 495 497, 498, 499, 699
  • LADOT Commuter Express: 409, 419, 422, 423, 431, 437, 438, 448, 534
  • Montebello Bus Lines: 341, 342
  • Santa Monica Big Blue Bus: Rapid 10
  • Torrance Transit: 4
Nearby Paid Parking (Independent)
Pershing Square
  •   Red Line 
  •   Silver Line (northbound only)
  • Metro Local: 2, 4, 10, 14, 16, 18, 28, 30, 33, 37, 38, 40, 45, 48, 53, 55, 62, 68, 70, 71, 76, 78, 79, 81, 83, 90, 91, 92, 94, 96, 302, 316, 378
  • Metro Express: 442, 487, 489
  • Metro Rapid: 728, 733, 745, 770, 794
  • Angels Flight
  • Foothill Transit: Silver Streak
  • LADOT Commuter Express: 409
  • Montebello Bus Lines: 40, 50, 341, 342
  • Orange County Transportation Authority: 701, 721
  • Torrance Transit: 4 (northbound only)
Nearby Paid Parking (Independent)
7th Street/Metro Center
  •   A Line 
  •   Red Line 
  •   E Line 
  •   Silver Line 
  • Metro Local: 14, 16, 18, 20, 37, 51, 52, 60, 62, 66, 76, 78, 79, 81, 316, 352, 378
  • Metro Express: 442, 460, 487, 489
  • Metro Rapid: 720, 760
  • Antelope Valley Transit Authority: 785
  • City of Santa Clarita Transit: 799
  • Foothill Transit: Silver Streak, 493, 495, 497, 498, 499, 699
  • LADOT Commuter Express: 409, 422, 423, 431, 437, 438, 448, 534
  • LADOT DASH: A, B, E, F
  • Montebello Bus Lines: 40, 50, 90, 341, 342
  • Orange County Transportation Authority: 701, 721
  • Santa Monica Big Blue Bus: Rapid 10
  • Torrance Transit: 4
Westlake/MacArthur Park
  •   Red Line 
  • Metro Local: 18, 20, 51, 52, 200, 352, 603
  • Metro Express: 487, 489
  • Metro Rapid: 720
  • LADOT DASH: Pico Union/Echo Park
None Westlake
  •   Red Line 
  • Metro Local: 18, 20, 51, 52, 201, 204, 352
  • Metro Rapid: 720, 754
  • LADOT DASH: Wilshire Center/Koreatown
July 13, 1996 Nearby Paid Parking (Independent) Mid-Wilshire
  • Metro Local: 18, 20, 206
  • Metro Rapid: 720
  • Metro Local: 18, 20, 66, 207, 209
  • Metro Rapid: 710, 720, 757
  • LADOT DASH: Hollywood/Wilshire, Wilshire Center/Koreatown
  • Santa Monica Big Blue Bus: 7, Rapid 7
Wilshire/La Brea
(under construction)
2023 None Miracle Mile
(under construction)
Beverly Grove
Wilshire/La Cienega station
(under construction)
Beverly Hills
(under construction)
Century City/Constellation
(under construction)
(Pre-Construction Activity
Westwood/VA Hospital
(Pre-Construction Activity)



The Purple Line is operated out of the Division 20 Yard (Santa Fe Yard) located at 320 South Santa Fe Avenue Los Angeles. This yard stores the fleet used on the Red and Purple Line. It is also where heavy maintenance is done on the fleet. Subways get to this yard by continuing on after Union Station. Trains make a right turn before coming to surface level at Ducommun Street, and then travel south to 1st Street where they enter the yard.

Rolling stockEdit

The Purple Line uses Breda A650 75-foot (23 m) electric multiple unit cars built by Breda in Italy; these trains are based on similar vehicles that were built by the Budd Company for the Baltimore and Miami rapid transit systems between 1983 and 1986. Trains usually run in four-car consists during peak hours and two-car consists outside of peak hours. The acceleration for cars #531 and up is similar to that of cars used by the Washington Metro because they both use General Electric traction motors.[17][18] The cars are maintained in a Metro yard on Santa Fe Drive near 4th Street alongside the Los Angeles River in Downtown Los Angeles.

In March 2017, Metro ordered new CRRC MA HR4000 railcars, some of which will operate on the Purple Line once the extension is completed.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Ridership Statistics - Rail Ridership Estimates". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. August 20, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project Contract No. E0119 – Operations and Maintenance Plan (Final)" (PDF). 2.1 Metro Light Rail Overview. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. September 10, 2013. p. 2-1. Retrieved May 19, 2017. The Purple Line operates 6.4 miles between Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and Wilshire/Western Station in Koreatown...
  3. ^ Simon, Richard; Rabin, Jeffrey L. (October 22, 1997). "Beleaguered MTA on Verge of Tunnel Triumph". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  4. ^
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Newton, Damien (November 20, 2018). "Metro Moves Ahead with Changes to How They Name Rail/BRT". Streetsblog LA. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "Red & Purple lines timetable" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. June 23, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  8. ^ "Metro Bus & Rail System Map" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. December 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  9. ^ Gabbard, Dana (November 23, 2010). "Metro's Conan Cheung Updates on Next 18 Months of Service Planning". Streetsblog LA. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  10. ^ Katches, Mark (January 31, 1993). "Red Line Rolls to Raves – It's Smooth Railing As L.A. Subway Opens". Los Angeles Daily News.
  11. ^ Bloom, David (May 22, 1996). "MTA Unveils New Downtown Line". Los Angeles Daily News.
  12. ^ "Purple Line Extension - Final EIR/EIS". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. February 6, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Section 3". Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  15. ^ "Force behind campaign against Metro's Purple Line may have a Trump card". The Real Deal Los Angeles. July 9, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  16. ^ "The ultimate test of Trump's local cronyism is playing out in Beverly Hills". Reveal. January 9, 2019. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  17. ^ Red line train
  18. ^ Washington Metro train
  19. ^ "L.A. Metro inks pact with CRRC for up to 282 new rail cars". Progressive Railroading. March 24, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2017.

External linksEdit