‘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: Financial Analyst
Location: Lincoln Heights
Your Transportation Routine:
How often do you drive and for what purpose?
7 days a week for work and for pleasure.
Where are you typically traveling from and going to?
For work: Lincoln Heights to Pasadena
For pleasure: to Inglewood, North Hollywood, Culver City, Santa Monica, Alhambra, Hollywood
How many vehicles do you or your family have?
How long does your commute typically take?
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?
More than $500
Do you use any forms of alternative transportation?
I take LA public transit 2 to 3 times a year, only if I have to go directly to a location and come directly back, and parking is going to be a pain. For instance, riding the 76 bus to go downtown for jury duty. Riding the Gold Line from South Pasadena to Chinatown for the Chinese New Year Parade.
I take the Amtrak Surfliner whenever I have to go to San Diego (about once a year.)
Why do you drive?
Usually traveling to multiple locations within a single day. I drive more than 2,000 miles a month going between home and work and 3 different fitness studios.
Why can’t/don’t you take transit?
I would like to take transit more often, but the biggest deterrent is that I usually want to go to multiple locations and it is easier to go from one place to another in my car. Also, it is no longer cheaper for me to take transit than to drive. Since my current residence is more than 2 miles from the closest train station (Union Station or Chinatown) I would have to pay for parking at the train station ($6 at Union Station) and pay $3 for a round trip fare.
Have you tried to use transit before? What was your experience?
I enjoy public transit when it is a direct line (one bus or one train) from my beginning destination to my end destination. If I have to transfer and/or if I have to wait more than 15 minutes for the next bus or train, or if I have to walk more than 15 minutes, then I opt for driving.
I love the DASH in Downtown LA. I like how frequently they run, how cheap it is and how there are enough loops and circuits through downtown that you can get within 2-3 blocks of your destination. This model obviously wouldn’t work for less dense areas of LA, but combined with express cross-town buses (eg, 720 Wilshire Line) it could be very effective.
What could local transit agencies do to encourage you to take transit more often?
Run the buses and trains more often (at most 12 minutes apart) and later in the evening (until at least midnight.) Free parking near train stations. (Too expensive to park at Union Station!)
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?
More bus lines! I know it is not a popular or “sexy” option, but for the cost of building and operating a light rail line, you can run hundreds more buses. Dedicated bus lines are not so important to me, although it is extremely frustrating to hear that the express bus and the express light rail lines are only 4-5 minutes faster than a regular bus. The frequency of each bus is more important.