For your Los Angeles Metro trip, you should get a TAP card for your bus and rail travel. OK, I know, yet another card to put in the wallet! Metro has decided that paper passes are just way too evil and it wants you to go green with the tap. If you have an old Metro paper stub, it'll be a collector's item!
Get a TAP card for $1 at a Metro rail stop station or in advance of arriving in L.A. at taptogo.net. Also, you can also obtain a Tap card at Metro customer centers (one in Patasouras Plaza on the low level--expect a considerable wait as I often see many people there waiting on service) or at the pass center along Wilshire Blvd (at La Brea), along with other locations.
For using TAP at a rail station machine:
Add money after inserting into the machine. The typical increment starts at $5 for a regular single all-day pass. Also, you can pay for one week/7 day pass (reg $20) or one month/30-Day pass (reg$ 75). There are other fares for transfer options. (Fares subject to change , i.e.- go higher)
Using TAP on the bus:
Feed TAP face-forward into card slot. The bus driver can read the balance on the card. If you owe any amount, add dollars and coins into money slot.
The card is tracked when a passenger enters a bus or rail entrance and taps a device that senses the card. The effectiveness of TAP is debatable as far as the green issue is concerned.
TAP card is good for use on not only Metro but for other greater L.A. county transport lines. Check website for more info.
I finally had the opportunity to use the metro on this trip and while I still think having a car gives you a lot more freedom and that the metro doesn't get you everywhere you'd want to go as a tourist, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I could see without driving and parking. The 1st day I used it I bought a tap card, the card cost $1 when I bought it and then I loaded a $5 all day pass. I think the tap card is relatively new, at most stations there were no barriers which seems a little odd but maybe the barriers will come down the road.
The 1st day I visited Union Station and Olvera Street, walked to downtown LA and reboarded at 7th/Metro and then got off at Hollywood & Highland which is right near Grauman's. The 2nd day I took the metro to Pasadena which has a stop just a couple of blocks off the main road in old town. There's a very handy metro guide I picked up at the tourist desk at Union Station which listed the sights at each of the stops.
Individual rides are currently $1.50 and if you have to change lines, like I did to get to Pasadena you have to pay another $1.50 fare. On the 2nd day I had 5 separate fares so I did get my money's worth out of the $5 daily pass.
Metro Red and Purple lines provide swift underground trips to major, entertaining stops in downtown. Furthermore, the Red line can take passengers to several attractions destinations in the county- such as Hollywoods, West, North and the original "Ho" area. Arrive at Union Station to start your underground rail journey from these lines.
Make sure that when leaving from the Union St, stop (or from major stops like Civic Center, Pershing Square, 7th/Metro stops and Westlake/MacArthur Park), that you look to see if the departing train will make a trip to Wilshire/ Western (this is the PURPLE LINE SIGNPOST!) or if it goes to North Hollywood (RED LINE SIGNPOST). Know your RED from your PURPLE! So many L.A. underground newbies get confused with this! Of course, I did in the beginning of all this Metro madness!
Check out the map on the website for all Metro Lines!
Photo of artwork by Robert Gil de Montes (1992)
I really thought the "nobody walks in L.A." thing was a joke until I went there. It seems a point of pride among some to remain ignorant of the public transportation system, so much so, that I felt quite the pioneer in my group when I actually branched out and took the metro. It is fast safe, and even interesting: a few of the stops I passed through are decorated to reflect their environment, or the movie industry more generally. Granted, they do not serve the entire huge city, but some of the main areas that a visitor would want to see.
It's a good option to take the Flyaway Bus that goes to Union Station, eventually to arrive at the Greyhound near downtown. From the airport, go on the lower arrivals area and look for the green "FlyAway, Buses and Long Distance Vans" signs.
After this, go inside of the station a few steps away after you stop. Go downstairs to take the Red line subway for about 4 min and exit the 7th/Metro stop, which is 3 stops away. Then, go up to the street again and take the MTA 60 bus from 7th St and Flower. You should be on that bus for just 6-10 min until you get to the station by 7th/Decatur (close to the major street Santa Fe).
Do try to do this in the daytime. I'd say at 7:30 PM at the latest. Walk with confidence in this area. Check website for updates on the Flyaway bus and also check mta.net for info on the MTA 60.
The duration of the entire trip should be about 1-1/2 hours, all depending on traffic and connections. One-way cost for this should be just $6.50 ($4 for the Flyway, $1.50 for Red Line trip and $1.50 for the 60 bus trip).
People(including VTers) love to regularly bash Los Angeles for having "no public transit". Or, they maintain public transit is only used by the old, infirm, poor, homeless and crazy.
A. Not true
B. Most of the naysayers have never even been on the subway
The sheer land size of Los Angeles makes it difficult to transverse by public transit or to even put transit in place. But, if you leave out the Westside and beaches, the city is fairly well-served. Overall, the system is more dependable and extensive than I've seen in Seattle, San Diego, Philadelphia...and, dare I say it, Chicago.
LA has the second largest bus fleet in America, and the second busiest light rail(after Boston's green line). By contrast, the Red Line subway, with it's limited range, ranks 9th.
But, for many visitors, the Red Line is a godsend. Top tourist destinations such as Universal City, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese, Downtown LA, and Pasadena are all connected via the Red Line and connecting light rail.
Sure, you're going to want to rent a car for the beaches and Malibu, Disneyland....maybe even for Beverly Hills. But don't believe the naysayers. Los Angeles is not the car crazy city it used to be. Residents are fed up with long traffic delays and insufferable commutes. I own a car, but use the Red Line weekly for all trips to Downtown shows, clubs, Disney Hall, Koreatown, Pasadena, Chinatown and Olvera Street. 40% of the residents of my neighborhood don't even own cars.
Los Angeles public transit still lacks for a city of its size, but it's getting there. No pun intended.
Red Line: Every 10 minutes during peak hours. Every 20 minutes off peak and weekends. Runs from 4:AM until 12:AM roughly, and until 3AM Fridays and Saturdays.
Created as the 1991 as the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) in 1991 after acquiring over 200 miles of track from the BNSF and the Union Pacific Railroad Road at the cost of millions of dollars. It has been serving so many communities along the way and helped creat a safe environment to travel to and from work.
We decided to venture out on a weekend to Union Station and bought a Family Four Pack, which is $29 for a family of four to travel to and from your destination you choose. We boarded at the Lancaster Station and secured our car in the provided parking lot. I was dismayed at the condition of the station, it was very dirty. Other stations we stopped on the way were not dirty. I have complained, so we will see. I will say the train was clean and we felt very safe. We just relaxed and enjoyed our trip. One thing about the trains running into Los Angeles are very old tracks, so the view is not always the most pleasant since it runs through the most industrial part of the cities or the very old parts. So just keep an opened mind.
I will tell you, some lady at the train station tried to hustle us for a ticket, but since we had an extra ticket we gave it anyway to her son and she kept wanting more, but we left it at that. So beware of that. Please check the web site for any more information since schedules may change.
Make sure to get yourself a schedule once you arrive to know what times of departure and what platform you need to be at especially at Union Station. Union Station does have eletronic signs of platform destinations, but get a schedule so you know the times.
44812 N. Sierra Highway
Lancaster, CA 93534
From 14 Fwy. Southbound, exit Ave. I. Go East to Sierra Hwy. Go South on Sierra Hwy. From 14 Fwy. North, exit 20th St. West. Go North on 20th St. to Ave. J. Go East on J to Sierra Hwy. Go North on Sierra.
Lancaster Station Vicinity Map
Approximately 140 parking spaces
If using Santa Clarita Transit 795, please wait at bus stop on Sierra Hwy in front of the station
Santa Clarita Transit
Antelope Valley Transit Authority*
Amtrak ThruWay Bus
Eastern Sierra Transit Authority
This was my first time using the Metro Rail above and below grade system.
It worked well during my stay. I used it to travel between Union Station, Pasadena and the Wilshire central corridor. I also used it to connect to local buses and the FlyAway bus (highly recommended).
From Union Station to Pasadena (Gold Line) it is about 35 minutes travel time.
Pasadena to Mid-Wilshire I connected back through Union Station to the Purple Line.
****IMPORTANT: THE PURPLE LINE DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE ANY SIGNAGE IN UNION STATION SINCE IT SHARES TRACKS WITH THE RED LINE. SO JUST HEAD TOWARDS THE RED LINE!!****
***Also IMPORTANT: make sure to wait near where other people are standing. Some of the platforms are long (specifically in the Subway) so the trains do not fill-up the entire area. I almost missed a train because I was alone far forward of the actual train!!***
My recommendation would be Pasadena, you can take the Gold Line an be in downtown Los Angeles in 20 minutes. From Downtown you have access to red line _ to go to Hollywood - Blue Line to go to Long Beach. Buses go everywhere including Orange County. I live in the heart of the city and rarely drive it is a misconspection that you cannot get around without a car. Look at:
Unless you want to go further to Orange County or Ventura county you would have to take Metro Link. Pasadena is a nice community, lots of hotels, tree lined streets beautiful neighborhood, good restaurants (Old Towne) and a few B&B's etc.
The metro trains makes it easy to get around and does connect to several attractions. The trains are much more frequent than the bus. It may be best to substitute buses with a taxi instead.
A day pass on the train is now $5. Now although there is no ticket agent at the train station there is a machine where you will buy your passes. You can also get them at some hotels. There is no turnstyle at the station. However, the sheriff might come on the train to see if you paid your fare. If you do not show the ticket then I believe the fine is $700. It may be best not to risk it.
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