Right here and now I am going to cop to my own travel snobbery…I used to never ride public transit in the US. That’s what your car is for…
Over the past year I gamely embraced the adventure of using rickety chicken buses in Central America, open-air tuk-tuks in SEA, bikes throughout Amsterdam and yet last week I scoffed and whined at the idea of being forced to ride the metro in LA.
New York? Of course you ride it there.
Same with Chicago, DC, and Boston. I was fine with the idea of catching a train or bus in any of these cities.
But I lived in LA for two years and for no other reason than assumption and ignorance I assumed the LA metro transit sucked as hard as the legendary freeway gridlock (which counts out riding the public bus as well unless you want a very real exercise in patience). I never even once used the LA metro system while I lived there for two years.
Oh, how my life could have been so much better. It was so simple.
I ducked underneath the raised cameras of tourists near Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, side-stepped the wackily clad actors on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, grinned at the people crouched on the ground and modeling next to handprints and footprints, and then escaped down a wide staircase and was rapidly in an environment that I recognized – public transportation in the form of LA’s incredibly simple subway system.
LA’s metro system doesn’t even begin to compare with the extensive network of London’s tube system or the vast color coding (nightmare) that is the Times Square stop in NYC.
Traveling LA on Public Transit, Metro Style
Instead I had just one option at this stop; there are only a handful of subway lines to choose from but as a tourist it totally covers all of the popular areas although it doesn’t even begin to touch on the whole of LA County. If you’re passing through LA briefly you’re likely well covered (it leaves from LAX airport and runs into downtown or Hollywood!). As a local I would have had a very effective way to get to auditions if only my travel snobbery hadn’t prejudiced me against the subway.
It’s color coded just like most subway systems. It’s clearly marked. And it’s simple.
It’s all you could ask for really.
I made it from a couch in Hollywood to another couch in Pasadena, during LA’s legendary Friday rush hour traffic, in just 50 minutes. And my friends on either side were saved some incredible traffic frustration.
Compare that to the last audition that I ever went on in LA, where I sat in 2:00pm (ie. senseless) traffic for 2.5 hours going HALF that same distance and in fact never made it to my destination before I got so frustrated, teared up, pulled off the road and sat at a restaurant eating instead of my going to my audition.
Life could have been so very different.
No worries though, my travel snobbery has been beaten into submission.
LA’s metro system rocks.
If you go there, use it. You will love it too.
Quick Travel Tips: Los Angeles Public Transport
How much: One-way is just $1.50. All day pass is $6.
Where: Check the routes at: http://www.metro.net/ and you can buy your fare cards inside any of the metro stop stations.
Extra Tip: Stick to the metro if you can, the buses will still be stuck in gridlock!