2021 has been a year of learning and recovery for the public transportation industry, and Team Metrolink came together to overcome the challenges hurled at Southern California. In these last few days of 2021, we are reflecting on all that our team accomplished this year (in chronological order).
#1 – We were proud that our San Bernardino Line provided service to a COVID-19 vaccination site at Cal State LA, a vital first step toward bringing our community the lifesaving tool it needed and making California a leading state in the fight against COVID-19.
#2 – Safety is foundational at Metrolink and securing $13.6 million of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Section 130 Program Funds allowed us to make safety improvements at four grade crossings along our Antelope Valley Line in the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster. In collaboration with Union Pacific Railroad and these cities, we’re making safety enhancements across one of our busiest rail corridors.
#3 – We unveiled our Climate Action Plan back in March to chart a course toward a greener future for our agency. The plan addresses climate change, air quality, and other pressing sustainability issues to help advance our aggressive goal for zero emissions by 2028.
#4 – In April, we partnered with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to provide free mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics at our Palmdale and Lancaster stations. With this initiative, we accomplished connecting residents and riders from these communities to vaccination opportunities.
#5 – Without essential workers, Metrolink doesn’t move. We felt it fitting to recognize the Herculean efforts of our Southern California region’s essential workers by celebrating Essential Worker Day, an annual recognition to take place on April 28, a day historically celebrated as National Superhero Day. Recognizing the significance of their contributions, the Board of Supervisors of the five counties Metrolink serves (Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Ventura County) have joined us in recognizing essential workers for their service to the region, including frontline transit workers. Our gratefulness for these real-life superheroes will never fade.
#6 – Just in time for summer, and for the first time in its history, Metrolink launched a new Saturday service on its Ventura County Line beginning Saturday, May 29—Memorial Day weekend. The service was made possible from funding provided by the Ventura County Transportation Commission and Metro. After originally debuting as a Moorpark to Los Angeles round-trip service, the route later expanded in August to Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura – East Stations.
#7 – In a partnership with Friends of the Children-Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, foster children and their caregivers enjoyed a train ride on Metrolink from Palmdale for an afternoon scooter tour in Newhall. Foster children and caregivers enjoyed lunch at Hart Park, then participated in a scooter tour of the Walk of Western Stars that honors legends of Western film, television and radio who have contributed to America’s heritage in Old Town Newhall.
#8 – New CEO Alert! In July, the Board of Directors of the Southern California Regional Rail Authority named Darren Kettle chief executive officer (CEO) of Metrolink. Formerly the executive director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC), Kettle joined us to lead Metrolink for the second half of 2021. And he’s just getting started!
#9 – We announced in September our pilot of a new technology to help ensure the safe and rapid slowing and stopping of trains in the event of an earthquake. The technology deployed along Metrolink’s 91/Perris Valley Line between the cities of Perris and Riverside and is a partnership with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The Earthquake Early Warning System uses data from the USGS-operated ShakeAlert® to notify Metrolink’s Positive Train Control (PTC) system that an earthquake has occurred. The technology can rapidly slow or stop the Metrolink train even before ground shaking is felt.
#10 – In October we announced a partnership to support one of the largest youth soccer organizations in Southern California: LAFC So Cal Youth. The program serves more than 4,000 children aged 5-15 and hosts more than 6,000 games on 40 weekends throughout the year at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. As the first sport that many children play, youth soccer broadens the horizons for children, enabling new friendships and empowering them with teamwork and leadership skills.
We’re looking forward to an impactful 2022. Thank you for being with us, riders!