‘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.
Who You Are:
Occupation: Higher Education
Location: MacArthur Park
Your Transit Routine:
How often do you take transit and for what purpose?
Every day anytime I need to go someplace. I do not own a car. I walk, bike, take the subway or the bus. Also my work pays for half my TAP pass. Huge savings.
Where are you typically traveling from and going to?
From my home in MacArthur park to work at UCLA on week days. For fun I typically hang out in Silver Lake, Echo Park, Hollywood
What lines/routes do you take?
To UCLA via subway/#2/302 bus on week days and then I tend to stick to the subway for groceries (Trader joe’s Hollywood/Vine). Downtown, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz or Pasadena for fun, friends and family. I am most often on the Red/Purple and Gold lines. As for the buses, I can typically be found on the 2, 4, 720, 16, 200, 18, 92 or 217.
How long does it typically take?
It takes me and hour to get to work and about 1:15 minutes to get home from work. That’s why I typically stick to areas close to the subway or major bus lines on the weekends. They are more reliable and have higher frequency. I also ride my bike when it’s more efficient. I like the exercise and the more intimate experience with LA.
Briefly, how would you describe your typical transit experience? Love it, deal with it, or hate it?
I love it!
On average, what do you spend each month on transportation?
Less than $50
Why do you take transit?
Because I am environmental – I don’t like the idea of owning a car just for my personal transit. It takes up a lot of space, money and materials, not to mention the environmental impact. It seems selfish to me. Plus I love not having to worry about parking. Parking is my biggest pet peeve. When my bus arrives, I get off and I am there. I also love that I’m more in touch with the city and the social aspect of being around people. When you’re stuck in your car you are in a bubble and divorced from the city.
Do you use any other forms of alternative transportation?
I bike often. It is at times quicker than waiting for the bus. The subway/bike combo is perfect. I just wish there were more bike lanes or European style track lanes for bikes so that I would feel safer.
Are you car-free? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes. As I outlined above, environmental impact, saving money, no parking dramas, and transit is healthy and social.
If you could make one change to improve your transit experience, what would it be?
More frequent service. Last weekend in the SFV I was waiting 45 minutes for an Orange Line bus. The read out said it would come in 20 minutes, but that was a joke. 45 minutes is a long time to wait! I vowed to never go to the SFV again and I probably wont for a long time.
Given limited funds, how would you address L.A.’s transportation issues?
Given limited funds, I would convert car lanes to bus lanes. It’s a no brainer. A bus of 30-50 people should have rights over a car of 1-2 people. That’s going to give LA the biggest transit bang for its buck. Yes the car lovers will howl, but that’s life in the city. If they want to life that life, then they should move to suburbia. Also I’d up the cost of parking, reduce the amount of parking required for new developments. When parking becomes scarce and expensive, people will give up their cars. Then with the limited funds I had I’d build more rail lines and put in protected bike lanes. Also, LA County should create incentives for companies to subsidize TAP cards. parking should not be free for employees. They should have to pay, always and with that money the company can buy TAP cards for those that take transit. If the company pays for 50-75% of your TAP card, why wouldn’t you ride transit. When I lived in Boston, most employers provided transit passes. Mine payed for 75% of it! That made transit very worth while.
Do you think L.A. transit is better or worse since you started riding? What’s changed?
I moved from Boston, so I thought it was terrible for a long time and regretted my move. But Metro has great graphic design (which Boston does not) and the subways are newer than Bostons, so a bit less grime. Overall I am pretty happy with transit in LA, but can’t wait for the Expo line to be built and the “subway to the 405” since it most likely will never go farther.
How would you encourage Angelenos to use transit?
Make transit as easy as possible. If it is easier and less expensive to take the subway than to drive and park people will get out of their cars. Transit also has to take people where they want to go. Metro should study the transit patterns based on TAP cards. Yes people will howl about big brother, but that’s great data. You know where people are going and when. Speaking of, can we speed up the TAP process? This middle ground of half on TAP cards and issuing paper that can’t go into the turnstiles is dumb. Phase out the paper already!