Why You Ride: Jesse Tovar, San Gabriel Valley

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: Jesse Tovar
Occupation: Student and traveler
Location: San Gabriel Valley

Your Transit Routine:

How often do you take transit and for what purpose?

Four days a week during a semester at the Los Angeles Community College District schools. I have to get to school from South Arcadia, so Metro is the way to go.

Where are you typically traveling from and going to?

My house in Mayflower Village (Monrovia, Arcadia, Irwindale, Duarte, and Temple City wrapped into one) to Los Angeles City College.

What lines/routes do you take?

Monday/Wednesday: 78 to Red Line or 704 at Union Station. It’s a short walk from Santa Monica/Vermont to the school’s main entrance.
Tuesday/Thursday: 270 or Foothill Transit 494 (if I have extra money and/or if it comes first) to El Monte Station where I catch the Silver Line or Foothill Transit 481 (if I caught the 494) or Silver Streak (if it’s ready to leave before Metro Silver Line) to Red Line at 1st/Hill to Santa Monica/Vemont.

During the semester, I mix it up by riding numerous Metro Local, Rapid, and Express Lines like the 30′s, 40′s, 439, 450 to name a few. Seriously, I think I’ve ridden every single Metro Bus and Rail Line!

How long does it typically take?

Monday/Wednesday: Close to an hour and a half if I got on Red Line. Over an hour and a half taking the 704.
Tuesday/Thursday: If I get the 5:51am 270 down to El Monte Station, I’ll be there by 7am the latest. Same result if I take the 10 instead at 1st/Hill to Melrose/Vermont, and it’s also a short walk from L.A.C.C.

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

I deal with it.

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

Less than $50

Why do you take transit?

Save money since I like to eat at expensive places when I’m in L.A. and shop at low-budget places, saving me more money. Also to save the environment, that sounds heavenly! Long after I have my license, I’ll still ride Metro and Foothill any day because I don’t have to worry about parking as that slows down everyone’s day.

Other Transportation:

Do you use any other forms of alternative transportation?

Bicycle, sharing a car with my brother, getting rides from strangers and rides from Mom (if I’m left with no other option).

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

Yes. Entirely car-free since I’m saving up to buy one. I don’t care If I get a car so long I have my driver’s license. Maybe I can work as a bus operator someday.

Your Perspective:

If you could make one change to improve your transit experience, what would it be?

Easier fare payment and offering ”specials” on certain lines.

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

[No answer given.]

Do you think L.A. transit is better or worse since you started riding? What’s changed?

It’s gotten better.

Stylish service from Metro and other carriers. But – tagging is inevitable when it comes to riding Metro Local, Rapid, Express Bus and Metro Rail.

How would you encourage Angelenos to use transit?

Try it at least once a week. You’ll be able to see areas you never dreamed of. Corny as that sounds, it’s true.