A Week of Public Transit in Los Angeles – Day 1 & 2

Coming into Los Angeles from Orange County, I decided to only take public transportation. Locals there were stunned. I heard various things, “Why!?”, “Good luck with that, man,” or blank stares. This was usually followed by, so what are you doing here. It’s been a while.

This is an important point because behavior and perspective toward transit is what will help people make changes. The truth is people like to get to and from work as quickly. Once affordable for a family in America, nearly all of them buy 2-3 cars. This choice is part of efficiency and convenience.

From my perspective, I want to see how LA treats its low income population, and the few thoughtful folks who see the point of not driving in southern California.

The trains from Irvine include Amtrak and the local Metro trains. Amtrak travels about 15 minutes ahead of the Metro system. Add all this time up and you can get home 20% to 30% faster. Google has a great system to show busses, options for walking certain distances, how many transfers are requires, and the travel time.

As I arrived I started hearing about Carmageddon. The closure of 405 was planned for the next weekend. This was poignant and timely. My choice was timed just right.

As I arrived downtown in Los Angeles, the train ride had been smooth and quick. I saw several backed up sections of the freeway heading north. Zipping past these stalled cars made me smile. I remember commuting back and forth from Mar Vista to Irvine for several months before moving within 15 minutes on my OC office.

The downtown station, Union, is connected to the bus terminal and the Metro train subway which travels to the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Inland Empire, Hollywood, and a yet completed section which heads toward the beach (via Culver City). This sounds promising.

I trotted over to the bus station with my 3 choices for bus routes and times printed from the internet while in Orange County. I’d never taken the busses or trains when living in LA, so this was all new to me.


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