The Orange Line Busway extension between Canoga Park and Chatsworth in western San Fernando Valley opened on Saturday, June 30, 2012.
Bus enthusiasts on Saturday got free rides on a new route 4-mile route in the west San Fernando Valley.
The Metro Orange Line extension runs between Canoga Park and Chatsworth.
This dedicated busway offers a way for commuters to get from the southwestern corner of the Valley to a Metrolink train station in the northwest.
Officials say the line offers faster travel times, improved bus connections, and better access to destinations throughout Los Angeles County.
The new line represents the first transit project funded by Measure R, an initiative passed in 2008 that imposes a half-cent sales tax to pay for transportation projects. It is currently set to expire in 2039.
Free rides were being offered through 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority lauded the service at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.
The Orange Line project was completed years ahead of schedule and cost $61 million less than expected, officials said.
Average weekday boardings between North Hollywood and Warner Center are about 27,000 avg weekday, officials said. Officials expect to see that number swell to 45,000 with the Orange Line extension by 2030.
That would be comparable to the Green Line which runs between El Segundo and Norwalk and the Gold Line, which runs between East Los Angeles and Pasadena.
Buses are not moneymakers off fares alone, a Metro spokesman said, but officials hope to see benefits in the development projects that sprout up around the new stations.
"This is huge," said Metro spokesman Marc Littman. "This is a major connection for the whole region."