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RIDERS ARE STILL EATING UP ORANGE LINE, OFFICIALS SAY.

Byline: Lisa Mascaro Staff Writer

The Metro Orange Line largely maintained its heavy ridership during the second month of operations, drawing nearly 15,500 passengers each weekday during December, officials said Friday.

Ridership dipped by 5 percent from November, a downturn officials saw elsewhere on the Metro rail lines and attributed to the holiday season.

``The holidays are a factor,'' said MTA spokesman Dave Sotero. ``As of the beginning of January, (Orange Line) ridership was back up to rates we saw when it opened.''

The Orange Line opened Oct. 31 as a major new mass transit route across the San Fernando Valley and was an immediate hit, attracting 16,360 riders on average on weekdays in November. In December, 15,492 riders boarded.

By comparison, ridership on the subway in December was down 3 percent, while passenger boardings on light rail trains were down between 2 percent and 14 percent, depending on the line.

``I'm very pleased. We're all very pleased,'' said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member who has supported the line. ``Anecdotally, you see it on the line each day. It's crowded. People love it.''

The line was plagued by a series of mostly minor crashes after it opened, all caused by motorists failing to obey traffic regulations around the new line. But the frequency of incidents has since declined.

Transit advocate Kymberleigh Richards said ridership could have dipped as riders adjusted to the new line or stopped commuting during the holidays, but added that the bus was full when she rode downtown Friday just after morning rush hour.

Lisa Mascaro, (818) 713-3761

lisa.mascaro(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Jan 14, 2006
Words:273
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