Why I Ride: Metro employees who Go Metro

Inspired by feedback from my post earlier this month on how to go car-free in L.A. I’ve taken it upon myself to find Metro employees who take transit regularly and find out why they do it and how it plays into the job they do for the agency.

The goal is two-fold: I want to share with readers that there are Metro employees who actually ride the system they run and I want to encourage those Metro employees who don’t ride regularly to look to their colleagues for inspiration, and hopefully join them on the trains and buses.

So over the next few weeks look for regular ‘Why I Ride’ postings as I hunt for those Metro employees who ‘talk the talk, and walk the walk’.

To start things off, and to share the general format, is yours truly:

Why I Ride

Name: Fred Camino
Position: Lifestyle Blogger, The Source

How often do you take transit?

Essentially, anytime I need to get somewhere that’s beyond walking distance, I take transit. I live and work in downtown Los Angeles so a lot of my mobility comes from simply walking to the places I need to be – my apartment is within close walking distance to a major grocery store, countless restaurants and bars, my favorite taco truck, the gym, the library, post office, a movie theater and more. But when I need to venture out beyond downtown’s confines I have at my access – and withing walking distance – the Red, Purple and Blue Lines and a myriad of different bus lines that can take me to virtually any corner of  L.A.

If so, what lines/routes?

When heading to Metro HQ I hop on the Red or Purple Line. I often take Metro 76 to The Brewery in Lincoln Heights where one of my close business colleagues is based. On the weekends, you’ll often find me on a Metro 2 or 4 for late night excursions to Echo Park and Silver Lake. Pasadena is my favorite place to indulge in rampant consumerism (Apple Store!) and the Gold Line facilitates it. Those are my regular routes, but depending on where I need to go I’ll hop on any line that takes me there.

Are you car-free? If so, why? If not, why not?

I’m car-free and have been for over five years now. I got rid of my car because driving in L.A. stressed me out – chalk it up to the combination of traffic, parking (the lack of it), the expenses, left-hand turns and maniacs behind the wheel. I also happened to live adjacent to the Hollywood/Western Red Line Station in Hollywood and in it discovered a much nicer mode of mobility. I became a train rider, and soon after I found myself on Metro buses. Once I discovered public transit, I discovered L.A. I haven’t looked back since.

Do you use any other alternative transportation (bicycle, rideshare, etc)?

I own a bicycle – it helps me get to those places that are too far to walk but are too close or too inconvenient to get to by transit. I’m a member of Zipcar and LAXCarShare (although I probably be dropping Zipcar soon as LAXCarShare’s vehicles are more convenient to my location) for those rare times when I need a set of wheels. I have no problem calling a taxi when it’s needed. And if a friend wants me to sit shotgun in their ride, I’m game too.

Do you think being a regular Metro rider is important to your job?

Seeing as how I’m the lifestyle blogger, I think being a regular Metro rider – and car-free to boot – is really helpful in building trust with readers. Having relied on the transit system for five years for virtually all my mobility needs has given me a library of knowledge, insight and stories that I’m eager to share – it also means I’m well aware of the shortcomings of the system and can be upfront about the challenges that come with the lifestyle.

Why do you love transit?

I love transit because transit is freedom. Freedom from the privately owned car and all of its (pricey) trappings. It’s a little ironic since the private car is sold as a everyone’s ticket to freedom, but I don’t buy it. I love hopping off a bus with nothing but my backpack on knowing that I’ve reached my destination without having to search and pay for a place to store my 1-ton ball and chain.

Is there anything else you’d like to add (anecdote, advice, etc)?

Don’t be afraid of:

1. A little bit of walking (it’s actually really really easy).

2. Riding the bus (it’s not THAT bad).