Why You Don't Ride: Carol, Westwood

Why You Ride (or Don't)Why You Ride (or Don’t Ride)‘ is a series where you, our faithful readers, share your transportation routines in L.A. and your thoughts on how to make things better – read more about the concept here.

Want to share your story? Take the survey here if you ride transit regularly, or take this one if you don’t ride.

Who You Are:

Name: Carol
Occupation: Retired
Location: Westwood

Your Transportation Routine:

How often do you drive and for what purpose?

I drive locally – to the grocery store, hardware store, Westside Pavillion, Century City, fabric shop, into the Village for lunch, to Beverly Hills for shopping and doctor appts. I also go to the Pacific Paliasides, Santa Monica and Malibu to visit friends.

I take friends to Hollywood for shows and museums and up to the Hollywood Sign. I go when and where I want.

All places where there is no adequate Metro transportation without transferring many times.  And Metro is not planning any easy solution in the future.

Where are you typically traveling from and going to?

My home that is located within 300 feet of a bus stop that will take me to Santa Clarita or downtown Los Angeles but nothing in between.

How many vehicles do you or your family have?

I have one vehicle.

How long does your commute typically take?

Less than 10 minutes by car.  It could take up to an hour or longer by Metro.

Briefly, how would you describe your typical driving experience? Love it, deal with it, or hate it?

I love it!

On average, what do you spend each month on transportation?

$50 – $100

Do you use any forms of alternative transportation?

To old to learn how to ride a bicycle. No one has the same schedule or destination that I have.

Why do you drive?

Convenient, fast and comfortable – also safe if driving late at night.

Your Perspective:

Have you tried to use transit before? What was your experience?

Before I retired I checked on Metro schedules to take me to work.

As I lived in Westwood and worked in the South Bay area I would have had to take a bus to downtown L.A. then transfer to another bus to take me south and then transfer again to go west to my destination.  Metro’s estimated time 3.5 hours each way.  I drove the distance in about 30 minutes.

Metro has weird ways of telling a rider the buses to take to their destination.  If I want to go to Westwood Village via Metro I am told to head east on a Santa Monica Boulevard bus to Beverly Hills and then transfer to a Wilshire Bus westbound and transfer again at Westwood Boulevard.  Now, if I were to take a westbound Santa Monica Boulevard bus to Westwood Boulevard and transfer to a Westwood Boulevard bus it would save one transfer.

What could local transit agencies do to encourage you to take transit more often?

Create local links between Westwood and Century City on Wilshire, Beverly Glen, Santa Monica Boulevard and return.  There are bus stops there, but buses do not serve the residents, they only offer long range ridership.

How do you feel about buses?

I’d ride a bus if there was a route that served my needs.

How do you feel about rail?

I’d ride rail if it there was a route that served my needs.

Given limited funds, how would you address L.A.’s transportation issues?

Create a long range plan for both north – south routes and the current east – west routes. Create more local bus routes – that take people where they want to go.

5 replies

  1. $50 – $100 a month sounds really cheap for auto-dependent transportation. Did Carol consider the cost of wear and tear, insurance, and parking costs? AAA estimates that driving costs around .55/mile; which take into account more than gas costs (which people usually only consider when taking driving v. Metro).

  2. As a retired person I doubt she drives that much, and much of her miles are long distance, high speed miles, not miles stuck in traffic. If you buy the right car (usually something 3-4 years old) and take care of it you can get away with a low sunk cost in terms of the vehicle. Regular maintenance is not that expensive when you go to quality independent shops, and modern cars don’t need oil changes but every 7,000 to 10,000 miles. As an older woman her insurance costs are lower than, say, a teenage or 20-something male, and she is likely driving more conservatively, which reduces other factors like how often tires and brakes have to be changed. Aside from the cost of the automobile itself, less than $100 a month for insurance, gas, and maintenance sounds reasonable.

  3. I wonder if there is a phone number you could direct people like Carol to- some kind of Rider line that finds a good route for her. I know that the Metro Planner sometimes does funny things, but I really doubt that there are no good routes for her to go from Westwood to Century City with one bus and no transfers. Do you guys have such a thing? I know I like looking at route maps and figuring it out, but it can be off-putting to others, who then give up and say, “Oh why bother, I’ll just take my freakin’ car!”