public transport in los angeles

Old Mar 1st, 2011, 02:28 PM
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public transport in los angeles

I find it difficult to get a clear picture about public transport in Los Angeles, regarding safety and security. The Visitor's Centre tells me it is safe to use the metro and the blue buses as there is good "security"..but there seems to be a very cautious attitude around. Is there anyone out there who has actually used public transport in LA recently ....and survived to tell the tale??
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 02:55 PM
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please dont be negatively influenced about the public transit here. depending on where you are and where you want to go.. youll be fine. to get around downtown and hollywood and north hollywood the metro is perfect. however they cant get you to the beaches and i imagine if you are visting you want to visit those. for that you will need a bus. honestly.. i "think" security is the same as if you were on bart or d.c. metro. as for buses its passengers and drivers only.. but help is always nearby should it be required. i think youll be surprised and pleased with your experience. ive been all over the city on metro very happily recently. as for the bus.... its been longer but i grew up riding it and the only problem was waiting for people with bikes. oh... and long waits between buses.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 04:12 PM
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Although there may be buses - I would imagine it is similar to San Diego. You will wait hours, wind slowly down main streets with stop lights at every intersection and spend your entire day on a bus.

It's not really a safety issue IMHO, it's that it is not efficient and LA is so spread out - if you are in downtown and want to get to the Getty Museum, Santa Monica beach, Disneyland, etc. you will spend hours at a bus stop then slowly moving around on a bus.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 04:26 PM
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Please elaborate on "..but there seems to be a very cautious attitude around." Where is that coming from?

My wife and I usually drive, but we have taken the subway several times in the recent past, and our only thought about safety was that it seemed far safer than driving on the freeways and surface streets. No potential rear enders talking on their cell phones, no road rage characters, no rocks coming through your windshield from an overpass, etc.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 06:08 PM
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Thankyou so much for these replies...The "cautious attitude" is what I pick up from people with generally second hand reports from travellers that it is "unsafe" on the metro in LA.. "You don't go on the metro..use taxis..". These people have been afraid to use the metro as far as I can gather so must be relying on hearsay...hence my thread..So far the news is inspiring.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 06:13 AM
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There are folks out there who somehow think taking public transportation equals taking one's life in one's hands. I've taken buses successfully in cities where public transport is supposed to be a no-go: Indianapolis, Nashville, Memphis, even Montgomery AL.

You may or may not be rubbing shoulders with poor folks on LA city buses -- haven't been there. If that's a problem for you, or you believe in dressing fancy and flaunting jewelry when you travel, buses may not be the best option.

And the slow traffic and distance you need to cover may also be an issue -- though I was okay in Memphis, another city where attractions are spread out and buses don't run with incredible frequency. You just have to plan ahead and not overload your day unreasonably.
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 11:44 AM
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First hand report here. I ride the bus every day, nearly 7 days a week (on Sunday mornings I drive to the market, pretty much the only time I drive). I take the bus to & from work (Fairfax area) to Westwood. On weekends, I love going downtown, or to Hollywood, all over the place really. I've just gotten used to it and I hate driving, trying to find parking, traffic etc...so yes I even take it to restaurants in the evenings, art shows etc, and to get to the clubs on Sunset if I'm going to see a band. Generally I take cab home late at night because buses run very infrequently after 8ish or so. Only twice in all the years (9!) have I seen anything dangerous, both times it was fights between other passengers.
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 12:25 PM
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Good reporting, travisblue.

Although we have 4 cars, we often use public transport (or bikes) to get around town. I personally find the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus to be a cleaner, cheaper ride than the Metro buses, and I think the same can be said for the Culver City bus service as well. There are commuter express buses, that are run by LA Dept. of Transportation -- my husband was using them to get to and from work until a few months back when they became so crummy and unreliable (breaking down, not showing up, cramped, unclean) he couldn't take it anymore. The Dash around downtown is a wonderful way during the work week to get to various points in the downtown area, and costs about 35 cents. Reliable, clean, safe. Never had an issue on the Big Blue Bus either -- this is the bus that many college students on the Westside use to get to UCLA, Santa Monica College, etc. If we go to Westwood Village in the evening, sometimes we take the bus there and back so we can drink.

The Metro (subway) is also clean, reliable, and safe -- yeah, you might get some homeless people or kooks riding it, but I've never been bothered or frightened.

I'd personally prefer taking the bus than a taxi -- the taxi drivers always seem to be in a rush, making illegal moves, and getting into accidents. I may be biased in saying this, but having gotten involved in two accidents with two independent cab drivers in the last 2 years, both times their fault, I am very reluctant to recommend taking a taxi -- especially from that particular cab company.
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Old Mar 16th, 2011, 10:22 PM
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Thankyou for these firsthand reports everyone and thanks to surfergirl for detailing the different types of buses...
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 02:19 AM
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i used the metro and buses with no problem on crutches in los angeles last july, when i wanted to go further out to Disneyland and to Chatsworth i took Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner train
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 11:21 AM
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The city bus can be slow going and you'll want to avoid rush hours when the bus is standing room only. Otherwise the slow ride can be a nice mini-tour in many areas.
Let us know where you need to go, to and from, and there might be some further advisories.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 02:54 PM
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Thanks joesorce....A few definite trips will be West Hollywood to Disneyland...and also w.h. to Santa Monica beach...maybe also to the Paul Getty museum from W.H...Any suggestions appreciated...We will probably be in Santa Monica Blvd near to Cieniega...
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 04:02 PM
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You were asking about public transport IN Los Angeles. Now it is West Hollywood to Disneyland . . . (DL isn't in Los Angeles)

West Hollywood to Anaheim is 40 miles across two counties. That would take an hour in a car IF there was no traffic and could easily take 2 hours. And that is in a car w/o any bus stops or transfers. By regular city buses -- Just about impossible.

Public transport in parts of LA is one thing -- but getting around for Major sightseeing is totally different . . .
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 05:25 PM
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For West Hollywood to Disneyland i'd recommend taking Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner, someone else i know took the bus instead and it took 4 hours :/ while on the train it took an hour
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 09:45 PM
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Getty is quick from WH, it is two bus rides but both are short, connecting in Westwood.
Same day you could visit Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive if you wish as it is nearby.

For Santa Monica you can take an express bus from WH.

Disneyland is a long trip, a bus ride to Union Station and then a train ride on Metrolink or Amtrak. Check amtrak.com schedules to make sure you don't miss the last train back to Union Station.

At metro.net you can plan your trips and get schedules, just plug in your starting address and "Getty Center" or wherever as your destination. There is no metro subway service in West Hollywood, and no good quick service from LAX airport except Taxi (or Supershuttle shared-van service.)

Note that metro trip planner will tell you to take the bus from Disneyland, but that is a long slow trip so take train instead. Once in Anaheim you will have to take a taxi to the park or the local Art bus service. An alternative is to take Starline Tours organized coach tour to the park...but I think they return to the city quite early, maybe 7:30pm.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 09:51 PM
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And no you do not wait hours for a bus to come and then wind slowly down streets full of stop signs as someone hinted earlier, LOL.

The metro.net website will find you the quickest routes on express or "Rapid" buses.

Don't miss Griffith Observatory , but public transportation up there is only on Sat & Sun.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 12:06 PM
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In addition to metro.net, Google maps has a trip planning function by public transit. Just click the tram symbol for get directions.

To get to Disneyland it's far more efficient and fun to take the Pacific Surfliner train to either Fullerton or Anaheim station. However,the last train back is at either at 10:18 pm or 11:15 pm F/S. My recommendation would be to stay that night in Anaheim.
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