Get ready for the “12 Days of Metro” Instagram scavenger hunt contest

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Participate in the “12 Days of Metro” for a chance to win great prizes from some of Metro’s Destination Discounts partners!

The scavenger hunt begins on Thursday, Dec. 5, and will run each weekday through Friday, Dec. 12. Here’s how it works: each weekday at 8 a.m. Metro will post a clue on its Instagram account.

How to play:

  1. Follow @metrolosangeles on Instagram
  2. Solve the daily riddle, which will involve a location accessible by Metro
  3. Take a photo of your TAP card at that location
  4. Post it to your Instagram (make sure your profile is public!)
  5. Tag @metrolosangeles and #tapandsave

Submissions showing the correct location and tags will be entered to win the daily prize! The contest will close at 6 p.m. each business day; submissions posted after 6 p.m. will not be included.

The daily winner will be chosen at random and will be announced on Metro’s Instagram the following day. Prizes include theatre tickets, restaurant gift cards and more! Click here for the official contest rules, terms and conditions.


Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition — creating community from Sherman Oaks to downtown Los Angeles

To celebrate Bike Week LA, we’re publishing a Why You Ride series with the winners of the 2012 Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about commuting via bicycle.

Our final Golden Pedal Award winner for this week is Michael Tormey. Michael commutes from Sherman Oaks to downtown Los Angeles on his bicycle. He first began riding to work once or twice a week when raising his kids was making it hard for him to find other time to exercise.

Now he bikes to work almost every day, enjoying the sense of community he gets from meeting people along the way. During the fall and winter, when it gets dark earlier, he even gives “blinker” lights to people he sees riding without bike lights; he estimates he’s given away more than 200 bike lights over the years.

Name: Michael Tormey
Start: Sherman Oaks
End: Downtown Los Angeles
Distance: 14+ miles
Time: 75 to 90 minutes

Photo courtesy of Michael Tormey.

Michael wrote to us:

“My commute takes me through Echo Park, Silver Lake, along Sunset Boulevard, west on Hollywood Boulevard, over Cahuenga Pass and west on Ventura Boulevard to my home. It’s a fun, diverse and colorful commute, and I see and meet all types of riders and bikes.

“On my evening commute in the fall and winter, I’ve always been amazed at the number of cyclists riding without bike lights. For the last three fall and winter seasons, I have been handing out ‘blinkers’ to riders who have no lights. I have probably handed out more than 200 blinkers to fellow riders. I know it might sound weird, but I think I do it for the karma. It just makes me feel good, and makes me feel like a part of the biking community. A big thanks to Lynne Goldsmith at Metro for providing the lights over the years.”

We asked Michael what he enjoys the most about his commute, and he told us:

“Besides the exercise fix, the real enjoyment I get is seeing communities and meeting people along the way. It’s hard to have conversations on the ride, but I really like the sense of community I get from most of my interactions.

“There is the grocer at a mom-and-pop place just before Cahuenga Pass — Oak Crest Market — that always yells out, ‘Have a nice day, sir!’ when he sees me. Sometimes he will run out and give me a rolling high-five.

“The bus drivers — I like to think that over the years a number of them know me now and give me a beep of hello. I have always found them to be a friendly lot. Treat them with respect and they give you respect back. It is a tough job after all — driving in traffic all day!

“And last is a recent experience… I was riding home on Hollywood Boulevard, and all of a sudden a car door opened. I’ve only had a few mishaps over the years, but never gotten ‘doored.’ I reacted with a quick flick of the handlebar and missed getting nailed by a whisker… and fortunately the big truck running next to me in the right lane didn’t run me over either. When I got to the next stoplight, the guy in the truck looked at me. Shaking his head, he grinned and said, ‘Man, I thought you was dead! I never saw anything like it, what a move.’ Then he reached down from the cab and gave me a fist bump. I was smiling the whole way home… and even now as I write this.”

Thanks for making us smile too with your stories, Michael! We’ve sent you a very large box of chocolate-dipped Clif Mojo bars for you to share on your bicycle rides.


Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition — learning to ride at last

To celebrate Bike Week LA, we’re publishing a Why You Ride series with the winners of the 2012 Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about commuting via bicycle.

Even if you don’t know how to ride a bicycle, cycling can still become a feasible way to get to work! Siobhan Dolan wrote to tell us how, at the age of 30, she learned to ride a bike just so she could commute to work. Now she bikes the 10 miles between Atwater Village and Mid-Wilshire twice a day, in under 45 minutes each way.

Name: Siobhan Dolan
Start: Atwater Village
End: Mid-Wilshire
Distance: 10 miles
Time: 45 minutes

Photo courtesy of Siobhan Dolan.

Siobhan said:

“I am a new bike rider—and when I say new, I mean that you can teach an old dog new tricks, because I just learned how to ride a bike at 30 years old. I learned how to ride because I wanted to commute to work by bicycle. My sole intention was to improve the public welfare by reducing car emissions in our already smoggy city.

“Who knew that I would grow to love it so much? My commute is peaceful. I now see some ‘regulars’ on 4th Street whom I wave to, and my overall quality of life has improved—and all because I chose to ride my bike. It has taught me that I can accomplish anything!”

Thanks, Siobhan, for proving that for those of us who weren’t taught to ride a bike growing up, it’s never too late to learn and even love it. And thank you also for making the air in Los Angeles a little cleaner for everyone! We’ve sent you a box of Clif bars to help you power your commute.

Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition — navigating the Cahuenga Pass

To celebrate Bike Week LA, we’re publishing a Why You Ride series with the winners of the 2012 Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about commuting via bicycle.

Given the scale of Los Angeles, bicycling to work can seem intimidating, but taking transit and using bicycle paths can make a cycling commute less stressful. Kate Mayerson wrote to tell us how her boyfriend, Jose Guzman, has replaced a “brutal” car commute through the Cahuenga Pass with a short trip on the Red Line and a sweet bicycle ride down the Chandler Bikeway.

Photo courtesy of Kate Mayerson.

Name: Jose Guzman
Start:
Hollywood
End: Burbank
Distance: 5.5 miles bicycling + 2 miles on the Metro Red Line
Time: 40 minutes

Kate describes how Jose went from driving to cycling:

“We live in Hollywood and Jose works in Burbank. The Cahuenga Pass separates Burbank and Hollywood, and limits the number of routes Jose can drive to work. Commuting in the mornings by car isn’t so bad, but the evenings are brutal. Last summer, Jose found his evening commute stretching to over an hour to travel eight miles home. Almost daily concerts at the Hollywood Bowl meant that traffic was awful. He was coming home late, tired, and frustrated.

Continue reading


Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition

To celebrate Bike Week LA, we’re publishing a Why You Ride series with the winners of the 2012 Golden Pedal Awards. The Golden Pedal Awards are Metro’s annual competition for great stories about commuting via bicycle. Our first winner is Jung Lee, a Metro intern who is seriously dedicated to biking to work.

Name: Jung Lee
Start:
Torrance, CA           
End: Union Station
Distance:
18 miles, one way
Time:
45 minutes

Photo courtesy of Jung Lee.

Jung commutes from Torrance to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles on his bicycle – an 18-mile ride. Clocking in at 45 minutes, his commute is as fast as it would be if he were driving during rush hour!

Jung was nominated by his colleague Joe Simpson, who writes:

“Jung is what I aspire to be someday. He arrives to work dripping wet and promptly cleans up for a very productive day. Because I’m a chicken, I ride the Santa Clarita bike paths on weekends, but Jung rides through traffic, over the hillside, on the river bikeways, and anywhere to get in to work. Sometimes he even does a workout ride before riding in. He doesn’t own a car and bikes EVERYWHERE. Very inspiring.”

Continue reading


And the Transit Flicks winner is …

Metro.net readers have spoken and Noah Mucci is winner of the 2011 Transit Flicks video contest for “Dollar-FiftyCity,” a first-person piece celebrating his experiences traveling L.A. County on Metro.

This is the second year for the contest, which attracted dozens of video entries. Finalists were selected by transit officials and top contenders were posted on Metro’s website metro.net so everyone could vote for their favorite and select the winner.

Mucci was grand prize winner and for his efforts will receive a free EZ transit pass for a year. He said the prize will change his life in a subtle but significant way.

“The prize will add another element to the experience of riding Metro and make it that much more enjoyable,” he said. “Beyond the economic reasons, I won’t have to constantly calculate if I have to buy a day pass or whatever. That’ll be cool. I’ll just get on.”

Mucci, who is 24, said he was “raised green” in suburban New York and has “always tried to be mindful of the environment.” So when he moved to Los Angeles four years ago he decided to forgo a car, both for financial and sustainability reasons. He has been crisscrossing L.A. County using only Metro, a skateboard and an occasional ride from friends. He works for a film company in downtown Los Angelesas as a director/producer and takes the Purple Line from very near his apartment in Koreatown that he chose specifically because of its proximity to the Red and Purple lines.

From that transit-friendly location he said he finds getting around not always easy, but workable and with benefits. “I do think there are a lot of ideas that people associate with public transit that aren’t necessarily correct,” he said. “There’s value that’s not on the surface, as well as apparent value, like the money savings. There are things like quality of life issues that matter.”

What triggered the idea for this video? Did you have other ideas?

Movies are my thing. They are what brought me to LA and how I view the world around me. When I saw the flyer for the competition I knew this was an opportunity to tell a story about something I had honest opinions and thoughts about.

Why are you car free in car crazy LA?

Cars are expensive to live with. I’ll need to get one one day but that doesn’t mean I need to use it every day.

In your entry you said, “There’s a lot of thinking space to be had in a Metro ride.” What do you mean by that?

My day is pretty nonstop. Metro rides give me a space between things to do something personal, whether that be reading, writing or just a good old headspace adventure. I like to people watch and imagine where they are coming from and where they are going. Metro is full of stories if you are open to the idea that everyone there is in the middle of a moment in their own life.

What do you think of the Metro system — things you like, things you would like to see added or improved?

I would like the Purple Line trains to be painted purple. I end up in NoHo a lot when I don’t mean to be there.

You can check out Mucci’s winning entry, as well as runners-up and honorable mentions at metro.net.

Check out the Transit Flicks finalists and choose your favorite Metro video

The 2011 Transit Flicks Contest finalists have been chosen and now it’s your turn to decide which transit oriented filmmaker wins the grand prize (a free EZ transit for one year).

Last year’s entries were great (the charming Heartbeat of L.A. took the prize), and I have to say, this year’s entries are even better. Metro has some talented riders!

What to expect in the videos from our finalists:

and…

That’s right, puppets.

Watch all the videos and then vote for your favorite by visiting the Transit Flicks voting page.

 

Lights, camera, action! A new contest

We know readers have lots of questions about TAP. (You’ve sent in 40 comments on our turnstiles post since last week!) But if you think you already know a lot about TAP, you may want to check out a new video contest being sponsored by Cubic Transportation Systems, manufacturers of the TAP card and other fare cards like it in other cities. There are prizes attached, including an early bird prize for entries submitted by Sept. 30. For details, go to their website.

By the way, don’t confuse this with Metro’s just closed 2011 Transit Flicks Video Contest, which will post its finalists on metro.net in early October.

Transit-oriented Spielbergs take note, Transit Flicks Video Contest is back

Faye Kingslee’s “Heartbeat of L.A.” (above) took grand prize in last year’s Transit Flicks Video Contest with its pristine production, easy-on-the-eyes actors and charming story about finding love on the Metro subway.

Transit Flicks is back for another year and transit savvy auteurs are invited to get their cameras rolling for a chance to win a year of free transit. That’s right, best picture gets an EZ transit pass good for one year – that’s $1,008 worth of unlimited rides on participating transit systems in Los Angeles.

What is a Transit Flick? It’s a two-minute (maximum) video that explains how transit helps and encourages others to try it. That doesn’t mean we’re looking for a dry Power Point presentation with bullet lists and clip art. This is a chance to get creative and have some fun! Entries will be judged on their originality, believability and how well they promote public transit.

We received some great entries last year, and I’m hoping to see even better productions this year. After all, video equipment keeps getting cheaper and more accessible – many people now have phones that double as video cameras, so there’s no excuse not to enter. In fact, I’d like to see budding directors use our “art of transit” series as inspiration and produce some visually stunning video submissions that put the static pictures we’ve been posting to shame.

The entry deadline is September 2, so get those camera’s rolling. Learn more at: http://www.metro.net/transitflicks

After the jump, I’ve scoured the net for some inspirational and stylish transit videos to get the creative juices flowing, check them out! Continue reading

Got apps? Reminder to attend tonight’s Developer Challenge Kick-off event

Metro Developer Challenge

Last week we told you about Metro’s Developer Challenge – your opportunity to create the next great transit app with Metro’s open data and possibly win $2,000.

Tonight we’re throwing a kick-off and Q&A event to get all app developer hopefuls up to speed on the specifics of the contest and get the ball rolling. There will be a presentation and the data providers will be there to answer your questions . The event gets underway tonight at 6pm at Metro Headquarters.

If you  can’t make it, the event will also be streamed live on uStream and WebEx (WebEx password: kick-off).

On a personal note I really hope developers out there jump at this opportunity. Metro offers mounds of data relating to its transit services – including the long awaited realtime bus arrival data – but L.A. still lacks great transit apps when compared to other cities. Portland in particular is a much smaller city that has a wealth of home-grown third party transit apps (I counted 39), and many of them are really great (I’ve found the feature set of PDX Bus to be impressively robust).

The way I see it, this isn’t just a challenge to create some great transit apps, it’s a chance to prove that Angelenos have brains in addition to beauty, and that we can app with the best of them.