Every night, Metro runs 24-hour service on 29 lines from roughly midnight to 5 a.m. It’s called The Owl, and the service is a lifeline for restaurant workers, security guards, club kids and often the last bastion of safety for the city’s homeless.
L.A. was one of the very first cities to run overnight transit service, beginning on September 11th of 1906, making the Owl 110 years old last month. Unlike other cities, LA’s Owl has been running continuously, ever since it started, through the good times and bad.
Besides a small crescent moon icon on the Metro timetable, Owl service is barely publicized – a lot of the people who ride it don’t even know what it’s called. But it’s pretty special. The routes spread from the valley to the west side, long beach and eastside and all meet up in downtown L.A., where they are timed to allow riders to transfer lines without long dark waits at the bus stop.
Off Peak decided to ride two lines on opposite sides of the city to get to know some of the Angelenos who depend on the Owl while everyone else is asleep.
Ruxandra Guidi rode the 81 from Eagle Rock to South LA. This bus runs just once an hour all night and has a community of regulars who know one another and break bread together, literally.
Neille Ilel rode the 4 from Santa Monica to Downtown LA. The 4 runs frequently all night, ferrying every type of restaurant worker to and from their shifts, along with the interesting characters that make staying up all night worth it.
Get your iced coffee ready and take a seat with us!
Categories: Go Metro