Car Free in Los Angeles

It’s been called Carmeggedon, and its freeways seemingly dominate the landscape, plus it has a reputation for being not merely car-friendly, but unashamedly anti-public transport. That’s the view many have of Los Angeles, but the city transport system is not nearly as dire as many people believe, and it is a place where a car need not be a necessity.

In fact, the City of Angeles has an efficient Metro system consisting of Metro Rail and Bus services, so that with a modicum of planning any visitor to LA can get around this sprawling city just fine without having to resort to hiring a car.

For a city that is said to be lacking public transport, its statistics are actually quite amazing.

For instance, LA has 183 bus routes which service 1,433 square miles of area, in which there are 15,967 bus stops. That’s not bad when you consider that Greater London, which does have a justifiable reputation for having excellent public transport, has 24,400 bus stops, but London is a city where car ownership is much less than that of LA and it has been an established city for much longer.

Working out how to negotiate the LA Metro system in order to efficiently get around and see the sights is also quite easy, thanks to the Metro Destination Guides which can be downloaded in either English or Spanish. These guides are not only available for each line, but have also been compiled into special interest categories such as dining and entertainment, shopping and a Summer Destination Guide. You can also work out your best connections by using the Metro online Trip Planner.

If you are planning to use public transport during your visit to LA, you can pay your fare by cash, or invest in a TAP (Transit Access Pass) a plastic card which contains a smart chip that allows you to buy and electronically load Metro passes, participating regional and local transit line passes, electronic cash, or any combination of the three.

There are a number of Metro rail lines established, with the new Silver line partly open with more under construction, plus LADOT bus services, which includes the DASH Downtown service, and the airport bus service called the LAX Flyway Bus which connect LA International Airport with a number of locations.

It may be that if you do score an invitation to the Academy Awards you may choose to arrive by limo, but it the studio moguls choose to ignore your request for transportation, you can be rest assured that you can still frock up and get to the Kodak Theatre by the Red Metro Rail Line, which shares its colour with the carpet you’ll be walking along.

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