A staff report to the Metro Board of Directors recommends that the transit agency change the names of its rail and bus rapid transit lines to colors with letters.

Historically, Metro has named its rail and bus rapid transit lines after colors - for example, the Blue, Red, Purple, Green, Gold, and Orange Lines.  However, the opening of the Expo Line in 2012 departed from this convention, as will the future Crenshaw/LAX Line.  Metro's official blog, The Source, bills the renaming as an opportunity to make its system more customer friendly, an important consideration as dozens of new rail and bus lines are scheduled to open in the coming decades.

In their analysis, Metro staff considered letters as well as three other options: colors with numbers, colors only, and a combination of colors and geographic names.  While both letters and numbers were found to be more user-friendly than the current naming convention, Metro has opted for letters to minimize the possibility of confusion with the numbers of existing bus lines and platform numbers at rail stations.

The staff report recommends implementing the name change in phases, starting with the Blue Line after it completes its segmented closures next year, then the rest of the system after the completion of the Crenshaw/LAX Line.  Making the switch now is considered ideal timing, according to the staff report, as the Crenshaw/LAX Line has yet to begin fabricating signage, and the Regional Connector will require similar work after it unites the Expo, Blue, and Gold Lines in 2020.

Metro estimates that implementing the new naming convention will cost $8.9 million.

The staff report will be considered this week at the Metro Board's Executive Management Committee and is scheduled to go before the full Board in December.