The Expo line officially opens on Friday, May 20 with free rides on public transit and a day of station parties May 21.

Starting at noon on May 20 and continuing through May 21, rides will be free on Expo, the Big Blue Bus and on Breeze bikeshare. Station celebrations will be held at several of the new stations from Culver City to Santa Monica.

According to Metro, the free rides will be on the entire Expo Line, from 7th St/Metro Center to Downtown Santa Monica. On Friday, free rides will begin at noon following the official opening ceremonies and will continue until the close of service.

Metro said on May 21 free rides will start at 4:42 a.m. at Downtown Santa Monica and at 4:45 a.m. at 7th St/Metro Center stations and will last all day until the end of service around 2 a.m.

“We invite the public to join us on Friday and Saturday to celebrate the historic opening of the Metro Expo Line to Santa Monica,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington in a statement. “We encourage the community to enjoy this new light rail line service and see for themselves how close to the beach Metro can get you.”

Metro will host a “banner break” on May 20 to mark the first passenger train service in Santa Monica since the discontinued Red car ended service in 1948. The first train of the day will pick up local officials from various stations along the route and will drive through a welcome banner at 9:45 a.m. at the Downtown Santa Monica station.

Local officials will disembark from the train and make speeches to an invitation only crowd.

Station celebrations will be on Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at: Downtown Santa Monica, 17th St/SMC, 26th St/Bergamot, Expo/Bundy and Palms. The Culver City Station that has been open since 2011 will also be joining in the celebrations. Activities will include a variety of entertainment, children’s activities, food trucks, bike valet and bike-pit stops and information booths.

The celebration activities include:

Culver City Station (8804 Washington Blvd.) bike valet, live music, DJ, food trucks, bounce house and entertainment.

Palms Station (10021 National Blvd.) bike valet, live music and food trucks.

Expo/Bundy Station (12201 Exposition Blvd.) bike pit-stop, live music, DJ, food trucks and bounce house.

26th St/Bergamot Station (2602 Olympic Blvd.) art galleries, cafes and food trucks, live music and entertainment.

17th St/SMC Station (1610 Colorado Ave.) live music, entertainment and food trucks

Downtown Santa Monica Station (402 Colorado Ave.) entertainment.

For more information, visit www.smgov.net/expo or http://moreexpo.metro.net.

editor@www.smdp.com