Public transit in L.A. – myths and truths


Friday I took public transpo down to Long Beach and it was really not bad at all……everything “they” say about how “nobody” takes “public transportation” in “LA” is a total lie.  There were plenty of weirdos, sure.  But fewer were on my trip to Long Beach than a single five-minute jaunt on Hollywood Blvd.  You really just have to get used to it.  Nobody with bad B.O sat next to me.  Everyone was very nice, even the Asian lady with the pink plastic bags.  Oh, and the Dude With One Eye says hello.

Yes, the LA transit system is probably super inconvenient, if you’re a New Yorker or a Chicagoan and rather enjoy the compulsory taxes that pay for a more beautiful rail system that delivers you to work so you can pay these taxes…. but for those of us out here in the Wild West, this is as good as it’s gonna get.

I really enjoyed my experience using public transportation in LA but the truth is the truth — the bus system makes the rail still unusable.  It takes too damn long to get anywhere.   A busy Industry mogul, for example, doesn’t have time to sit around waiting for the bus that will take him to LAX just to hop the Green line.  He just doesn’t.  So you can imagine how inconvenient this mode of transportation is to someone like me who flies.

I imagine I will be using public transpo for my more “casual” days – if I have a guest lecture or a meeting and I can bring work on the train.  Other than that, because of where I choose to live, the car’s unfortunately the only answer.

There isn’t too much on the web about specific times and paths to take to get to those “hard to reach” areas, so I’ll detail my LBCC trip here.  In a future post, I hope to write about how to get out to the San Gabriel Valley in an expedient fashion.  (You know. For dim sum and you’re afraid food coma will hit you on the 10.)

The most irritating leg of my LBCC journey was not the Long Beach section, but the Santa Monica section (where I start out).  The Blue Rapid bus #3(that takes you down to Aviation/LAX so you can START taking the rail) doesn’t run mid-day.  So either you’re going at rush hour, or you have to wait until 1:30pm for the service to start up again.

Here are the detailed notes that I took and the times PLUS… a mediocre map I created in Photoshop.  CLICK ON IT FOR A BIGGER VIEW. The times are in red, the first number is rush hour-speed, and the second number is, well, not.  The return trips were pleasant.  Getting to a destination is a tad stressful when you’re not in control.  But I could get used to it.  Without a day pass, the Metro busses and Metro rail are $1.25 one way.  The Big Blue Bus (which was the longest route and time) was a whopping $.75 cents. Regular busses in Long Beach run $1.10 one way.

map of public transpoto LBC


I passed through Compton and it was fine.  Took this picture as a measure of good will to our neighbors.

The most valuable lesson learned here,however… is that if you’re going down to LAX  – and there’s nobody to take you – seriously – forget the cabs, and forget SuperShuttle.  For 75 cents you can get down to LAX in 30 mins if you have that kind of time.   Now that’s pretty sweet.


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