‘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:
Name: Alex Thompson
Occupation: Community Organizer
Location: West LA
Your Transit Routine:
How often do you take transit and for what purpose?
I take the bus for 1-5 round trips a week – probably average twice a week. I take the bus for any longer trips that I don’t ride my bike for. These days I prefer the bus to biking for many trips because I can read or talk or work while on the bus, which I can’t do while biking. It also allows me to be a little more dressy for those times when I go downtown. I still bike a lot though – 50 to 120 miles a week.
Where are you typically traveling from and going to?
Typically I’m traveling from home in Del Rey to either Hollywood or Downtown.
What lines/routes do you take?
I most often take the 733, sometimes take the 33 late at night when the 733 stops, and I take the 207 and some other N/S routes like that to get from Venice Bl to Hollywood.
How long does it typically take?
1 hour for a trip downtown, 1 1/2 or more to get to Hollywood.
Briefly, how would you describe your typical transit experience? Love it, deal with it, or hate it?
I love it!
On average, what do you spend each month on transportation?
$50 – $100
Why do you take transit?
For the reasons stated above, plus it also allows me to be a little more dressy for those times when I go downtown.
Do you use any other forms of alternative transportation?
Are you car-free? If so, why? If not, why not?
Car free! Initially, in order to have less impact on the environment and to be more independent. Saving money is a big part of it as well these days.
If you could make one change to improve your transit experience, what would it be?
More N/S routes on the Westside. It’s easy to get E/W but difficult to go N/S.
Given limited funds, how would you address L.A.’s transportation issues?
Cultivate a culture of respect for pedestrians and cyclists, and attack the cultural stigma that comes with walking, biking and using transit. Big changes in attitudes could be achieved with small expenditures (relative to what we’re spending on the 405 widening for example.)
Do you think L.A. transit is better or worse since you started riding? What’s changed?
I feel it is better for me, but it’s hard to say for all of LA. There’s more capacity on Venice Blvd which is the main artery I use to get places.
How would you encourage Angelenos to use transit?
Challenge them! People routinely assert that transit is awful, and implicitly that it is beneath them. The phrase “have the courage of your convictions” should be leveled at people espousing those opinions. Challenge them to ride the bus for a week – if they’re so convicted they will come out the other side with the same views. If they’re not willing to step up and try transit, then challenge them to keep their views based on limited info to themselves. We need more of an east of the Mississippi attitude in LA – people are too tolerant of uninformed viewpoints in California!