Why You Ride: Vanpool Edition – Charlie McDaniel is a true vanpool ambassador

Charlie McDaniel, winner of the Vanpool Ambassador Award. Photo: Josh Southwick/Metro

Charlie McDaniel, winner of the Vanpool Ambassador Award. Photo: Josh Southwick/Metro

Each year, the Diamond Awards recognize the achievements of corporate rideshare programs in the region and their contribution toward decreasing gasoline consumption, air pollution and commuter costs. New this year were the Ambassador awards, which acknowledged commuters for ridesharing and for taking the initiative to promote transit alternatives to their peers.

The recipient of the Vanpool Ambassador award, Charlie McDaniel of Jones Day, is a true advocate of ridesharing. Charlie formed 10 vanpools for commuters from Riverside to Union Station–an impressive feat especially because she was able to form 4 in one day!

Below, Charlie shares her thoughts on her daily commute and talks about why she shares the ride.

What made you decide to rideshare?

Commuting to downtown Los Angeles from the Inland Empire can be time consuming and expensive. I knew a lot of people with the same problem, and they asked if I could try to figure out a less expensive way for everyone to get to work. I then looked into vanpooling and learned how beneficial it could be for everyone involved. After figuring out what it would cost for people to get into L.A. from various cities in the Inland Empire, I commenced passing out flyers asking people who were interested in vanpooling to contact me with their travel times. I got an amazing response and began putting together various vanpools out of Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Corona and the like.  

I was particularly interested in saving people money. At the time I got involved in this, a lot of households were reduced to single income households due to the economy and mass layoffs and desperately needed a more cost-effective commute. It was and is a major success because we are able to accommodate personal schedules, and it resulted in a major reduction in what had to be paid monthly.
How often do you rideshare to work now? How long does it take? 

Five days a week, Monday through Friday. The commute is roughly an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. I’ll have been vanpooling for 2 years by this July.

What tips do you have for making a vanpool commute easier?

The key to having a happy vanpool is that everyone is congenial, takes heed of the rules and abides by them.  

Thank you, Charlie, for being a leader in the vanpool community! Keep up the good work, and happy commuting.

Go Metro to the Los Angeles Kings’ SECOND Stanley Cup victory parade

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings, which won the Stanley Cup Friday night with a heart-stopping and breath-taking double-overtime win over the New York Rangers.

A victory parade will begin at noon Monday at 5th and Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles and travel south along Figueroa to L.A. Live and Staples Center — just as did when the Kings won the Cup in 2012. With downtown street closures in place and some inevitable bus detours, the best way to travel to the parade is to take Metro Rail or Metrolink into downtown. Metro will be adding rail service to accommodate the crowds.

The closest Metro Rail stations to the parade route are Pershing Square (Red/Purple Line), 7th/Metro Center (Red/Purple Line, Blue Line, Expo Line) and Pico (Blue Line, Expo Line). Metrolink riders can transfer to the Red/Purple Line at Union Station — both the Red and Purple Line serve all downtown Los Angeles stations.

There is also paid parking at Union Station — it’s $6 for the day.

Need to plan your transit trip? Try Metro’s Trip Planner or Google Transit. Here’s a map of Metro and Metrolink commuter train lines:


Click on the map to see a larger version.

If you’re having trouble viewing the map, click here for a pdf of the map. Or click here to see a pdf of only Metro routes.

Some specifics on individual Metro lines:

•The Expo Line runs from Culver City to 7th/Metro Center at the intersection of Figueroa and 7th streets, with a stop at Pico — two short blocks from L.A. Live and Staples Center. Timetable and parking info

•The Red Line subway runs from North Hollywood to Union Station and the Purple Line subway from Western Avenue in Koreatown to Union Station. Two stations are near the parade route — Pershing Square is near the beginning of the route and 7th/Metro Center is near the mid-way point.  Timetable and parking info.

•The Orange Line busway runs between Warner Center and the North Hollywood Red Line station and has free parking in several lots. Timetable and parking info

•The Blue Line runs between downtown Long Beach and 7th/Metro Center at 7th and Figueroa, with a stop at Pico, two short blocks from L.A. and Staples Center. There are free parking lots along the route, as well as paid parking in downtown Long Beach. Timetable and parking info

•The Green Line runs between Redondo Beach and Norwalk and offers transfers to the Blue Line. There is also free parking at several lots at stations. Timetable and parking info

•The Gold Line runs to Union Station from both Pasadena and East Los Angeles. There are several free parking lots or garages along the route, as well as street parking and paid parking in downtown Pasadena. Timetable and parking info.

•Metrolink and Amtrak trains serve Union Station, with connections to the Red/Purple Line subway to reach downtown L.A. destinations. Metrolink schedules and Amtrak.com

A single ride on Metro Rail is $1.50 per single bus or train ride. If you don’t already have a reloadable TAP card, you will need to purchase one, available for $1 from TAP vending machines at all Metro Rail and Orange Line stations, in addition to El Monte Station. If you need to transfer, the best choice is a day pass for $5, also available at all ticket vending machines. Tip: don’t throw out your TAP card when done — you can use it in the future!

On the go and need rail and bus arrival/departure times from your current location? Try Metro’s app for smartphones. Android version and iPhone version

Fashionable and practical Destinations Tote Bag now on sale at Metro Store

The Destinations Tote Bag is now on sale at the online Metro Store for $13.50. It’s sturdy, cute, perfect for carrying your things while you travel on Metro. Get yours today!


Metro Podcast: the Hollywood Pantages, California Science Center and DTLA Night Market–all places you can TAP and save

Photos: Aurea Adao/Metro

The second-ever Metro podcast covers the Hollywood Pantages, the DTLA Night Market and the California Science Center‘s Pompeii: the Exhibition. Learn about what’s playing at the Pantages, what kind of food you can expect at the night market,  the lifestyles of the rich and famous in Pompeii and more!


Keep reading after the jump for details on how to save money at–and go Metro to–all three places.

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Go Metro Weekends, June 13 − 15

A standout from last year's Pasadena Chalk Festival at Paseo Colorado, captured by Scrubhiker via Flickr/Creative Commons. This annual event was the recipient of a Guinness World Record for largest art event of its kind in 2010, and takes place this Saturday - Sunday.

A standout from last year’s Pasadena Chalk Festival at Paseo Colorado, captured by Scrubhiker via Flickr/Creative Commons. This annual event received the Guinness World Record for largest art event of its kind in 2010, and it’s taking place this Saturday – Sunday.


Celebrate the classic hit movie La Bamba with Metro and the Los Angeles Film Festival at Union Station this Friday. The free screening takes place in the old ticket concourse at 8:30 p.m. There will be a jitterbug dance lesson before the movie at 7:30 p.m. and a Q&A session with the cast and filmmakers at 8 p.m. Come early as seating fills up fast! Those with TAP cards get preferential seating and can also receive 20% off at the Union Station Wetzel’s Pretzels on June 13 only! (Metro Red/Purple, Gold, or Silver Line to Union Station or various Metro buses serving Patsaouras Transit Plaza.)


Meet fellow enthusiasts of biking, design, and dim sum this Saturday on the Design-n-Dim Sum bike tour organized by the Los Angeles Design Festival. The ride starts at 10:30 a.m. at Flying Pigeon bike shop in Highland Park, stops at various studios in Glassell Park, and finishes at the Golden Dragon in Chinatown. A limited number of bikes are available for rent. Those with bikes are welcome to ride for free, but those dining must purchase a $20 advance ticket. (Metro Gold Line to Heritage Square/Arroyo Station or Metro Bus 81 to Figueroa/Amabel.)

The City of Santa Monica hosts the Santa Monica Festival this Saturday in Clover Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The focus of the free festival is sustainability and health as well as a celebration of the 151st anniversary of the emancipation proclamation. Free bike parking will be available, and Big Blue Bus 8 will also be free for the day with a downloadable coupon. (Big Blue Bus 8 to Ocean Park EB/25th or Ocean Park WB/28th.)

Chinatown Summer Nights in Central Plaza is back, and the first event of the season is this Saturday from 5 p.m. through midnight. Enjoy music and dancing with 89.9 KCRW DJs, as well as food and shopping from food carts and local vendors. The event is free to all. (Metro Gold Line to Chinatown Station, or Metro Bus 83 or 84/68 to Broadway/Chinatown, or Metro Rapid 794 to Hill/College.)

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TAP validator test at entrance to Gold Line at Union Station

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Those entering or exiting the Gold Line at Union Station recently may notice something different: there are TAP validators now arranged across the bottom of the stairs. The validators, up until now, have been against both walls and next to the ticket machines.

What’s going on? Metro’s TAP team is trying a different arrangement of the validators to see what works best at the entrance to the stairs leading to the train platform. As you know, it’s an area that can get quite crowded at peak hours with people headed both up and down the stairs.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have a preference!

Get ready for Make Music Los Angeles on June 21


Rhythm Child jams at lasts year's Make Music Los Angeles. Photo: Make Music LA Official Facebook

Rhythm Child jams at lasts year’s Make Music Los Angeles. Photo: Make Music LA Official Facebook

Make Music Los Angeles, now in its 3rd year, is set to take place Saturday, June 21. Hundreds of free concerts will be taking place in public spaces throughout Los Angeles County from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Venues include Helms Bakery, Santa Monica Place, Grand Park, Eagle Rock Library, Canoga Park Library and more.

During Make Music LA, you can receive exclusive Metro discounts at the following locations by showing your valid TAP card.

To see the list of Make Music LA venues and schedule of performances, visit their site. Then plan your route to the free music using Trip Planner!