Why You Don't Ride: Kabir, Silver Lake

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: Kabir
Occupation: TV director
Location: Silver Lake

Your Transportation Routine:

How often do you drive and for what purpose?

I drive frequently: for work, to run errands, and to social activities.

Where are you typically traveling from and going to?

As a freelancer, my workplace changes constantly.

Errands are usually run in the neighborhood, as are most social activities.

I also have to go to the airport (BUR and LAX) often.

How many vehicles do you or your family have?

1

How long does your commute typically take?

Anywhere from 15 minutes (when working in the Valley) to 1 hour 30 minutes (when working in Venice).

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

I deal with it.

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

$100 – $300

Do you use any forms of alternative transportation?

[No answer given.]

Why do you drive?

Because there are not enough transit options.

Your Perspective:

Why can’t/don’t you take transit?

Again, because there are not enough transit options.

I think it’s a real shame there is no DASH bus in Silver Lake like there is one in Los Feliz and two in Hollywood.  Ours is a neighborhood of progressives, of environmentalists, of bicyclists, of people who would love to take transit to places, if only there were more options.

Additionally, the few transit options that do exist are absolutely not helpful for enjoying nightlife.  Imagine a city where one could take a bus or a train home from a bar and not have to worry about designating a driver.  Wait, cities like that do exist!!  Why can’t the MTA serve the lives of those who live here?

For example: there are many bars in Silver Lake; they close at 2am.  If there were a 25¢ DASH bus, an option to take a convenient bus home that ran until 2:30am, one which served a local population that would benefit from it, many would take it.

As it is there are only two buses that go through Silver Lake:

The 175 bus, through western Silver Lake, stops running at **8PM**, not even late enough to get anybody home from dinner, and doesn’t even run on weekends!

The 201 bus cuts through Silver Lake but also stops running at 8PM!  Additionally, the 201 schedule on the MTA’s website has been out of date for nearly six months, given the planned closure of West Silverlake Drive in March.

Metro is ignoring the needs of people in the neighborhood, and should not be surprised that so few people here take transit.  It may be tempting for metro to think, institutionally, that the reason these options don’t exist is because we don’t take it.  The truth is, we can’t take transit, because there are not enough options.

Additionally, another story:  my girlfriend lives very close to a Purple Line stop in downtown.  We were going to a concert at The Wiltern, which is literally at a Purple Line stop.  How exciting it was, our plan to take the subway and not drive, not pay for parking, not worry about whether there was one drink too many.  I looked up the train details and was dismayed to learn that the last train leaves before midnight – before we would be leaving!

The MTA has installed a train station at a very popular nighttime destination (The Wiltern theater), but fails to serve the thousands of people each week who might otherwise use transit and not use the gas, not pay for parking, not drive after a drink – and that’s thousands of people weekly at just this one stop!

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

I look longingly at the MTA website all the time, hoping there could be a way to take it anywhere, but the MTA services are useless to me and nearly everyone I know.

Somehow, Metro is very inconvenient in my part of town, a very dense part of town populated by people who WANT to take transit.

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

Transit agencies could run trains and buses into the evenings, especially in this community (I say so because, living here, I know it better than other communities).

Also Metro could realize that the city is so spread out, that there need to be faster options than just taking the freeway on a bus.  Taking a bus from the Eastside to the Westside in morning rush hour is a flawed idea because then transit riders are subject to the same traffic nightmares as private vehicle commuters.  Dedicated lanes or rail lines are a critical feature of making Metro more appealing and more able to earn fares.

As it is, it’s faster to drive from Silverlake to Santa Monica, to Burbank, to LAX and to BUR.  I wish it weren’t.

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?

Here, I’ve made a website so you can see my thought written out clearly:

http://www.down.net/bus/

Apologies, I copied much of what I wrote here and posted it there, so it will seem redundant to whoever reads this..

I drive four or five days a week to downtown Los Angeles for work, typically arriving by 7am and leaving at about 4pm. Sometimes I run an errand after work; however, only about once a week. An example is to pick-up dry-cleaning on the way home. I reserve my weekends for grocery shopping or for trips to places like Home Depot or Best Buy.

4 replies

  1. I completely concur! It would be convenient for me to take the gold line, but there is no subway line thereafter that goes all the way to the west side where I work and go to school.

    Also, I’ve tried take the Metro on a Saturday night to Hollywood but had to get to the station before 11pm to get home since it stops running after that. One night I waited for ages at a hollywood station for the red line, and by the time it finally got me to Union station I had missed the last Gold Line and had to take a cab home (and it was expensive).

  2. I agree and can empathize with much of what Kabir said. While living in Temple-Beaudry and working in both East Hollywood and Silver Lake, I took the bus (a DASH bus to the 2 route) frequently to and from work. Which was fine save for the few occasions when the bus was so crowded it wouldn’t take on anymore passengers. And while the 175 bus usually ran on time, the infrequency of its running was really frustrating. And if I had to work late, which was often, I either had to bum a ride or walk down to Sunset to catch the 2 bus. Eventually I relied more and more on my car. I’m not anti-car, I just want options.

    And while the bus and subway were usually fine for work, when I went to concerts or out drinking the subway wasn’t an option and the buses weren’t convenient. Not for the short distances I was driving. A 15-minute car ride or a 50-minute bus trip weren’t comparable. We need way more late-night options. Especially in younger, densely-packed neighborhoods like Silverlake, Los Feliz, Echo Park, Hollywood, etc.

  3. It’s tricky to run transit service late at night in areas where there isn’t a critical mass of riders. Even if a few people get on the bus after the bars close, that probably won’t do much to compensate for the cost of operating all those buses at night.

    There are so many places that don’t even have frequent bus service during the day, so how can Metro justify expending so much money to serve a relatively small number of night-riders?

    However, what if Metro charged more for late-night service? It would still be way cheaper than a cab or paying to park somewhere, and it might bring in enough funds to expand late-night service slightly.

    Want to catch a bus at 2am? That’ll be $2.50 🙂

  4. I agree with Chewie that there is already lack of service in many part of LA. I am not talking about middle of nowhere. I am talking about business district/shopping area.

    Understand there is lack of funding to provide the service. Of course, the first thing MTA has to do is improve the day time service. Then evening service, and then night service

    I live in Walnut. Every time I travel out, I have to make sure I can arrive at the station early, so I can catch bus home. During the leisure time, that is ok. For working, that is tough, we have to leave work after 6pm, and the bus service gets terrible after 6pm. In downtown, WLA, or places closer to train station, there are still buses/ rail services, but in many part of SG valley, the service gets terrible after 6pm

    I don’t know what MTA is thinking. It keeps thinking people get to leave work before 5, and people live closer to the train stations. It keeps saying how good service is. It keeps telling people WLA will be better commute, how could that WLA have better commute if people cannot catch connection buses after 6/7 pm

    I know in my life time that we will not be able depend on MTA to go to club after midnight, but at least make transit riders have less fear to commute. More frequent bus everywhere. More night service

    Until then stop glorifying yourself that MTA IS DOING THE GOOD JOB OF HELPING US. STOP TELLING US THAT EXPO IS GOING TO SOLVE COMMUTING PROBLEM (OR THE FIRST STEP)

    MTA
    SHUT UP BEFORE THE SERVICE GET IMPROVE