Why You Ride: Heather J., MacArthur Park

Why You Ride (or Don't)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: Heather J.
Occupation: Public relations account executive
Location: Westlake/MacArthur Park

Your Transit Routine:

How often do you take transit and for what purpose?

I take transit several times a week. I used to take it every day but now I live about two blocks from my work. But for grocery shopping, going out, visiting friends and family, etc. I take transit.

Where are you typically traveling from and going to?

Typically, from MacArthur Park to downtown, or to USC, or Hollywood.

What lines/routes do you take?

I spend a lot of time on the 204, 754, 720, 200, DASH Echo Park + Koreatown, Red/Purple Lines, and sometimes the 52.

How long does it typically take?

To USC, anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour depending on the time.

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?

I don’t drive. The entire concept freaks me out. I like taking transit and getting to read and do other things while I am commuting. Also, the question just above should probably not be a radio button question–there really isn’t a typical transit experience. In some ways, it can be great. I have taken the gold line and it has been a perfect experience. On other trips, the 52 might smell like pee and there’s some lady trying to bless me in Spanish. It’s such a crap shoot.

Other Transportation:

Do you use any other forms of alternative transportation?

Bicycle, walking.

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

I don’t drive. Partially because it freaks me out, partially because I am really a person destined to live in the east coast but prefer the weather here. This is a city that could be perfect for the car free public transit folks. It’s a freaking grid pattern and it never rains. We should be biking and walking everywhere, really.

Your Perspective:

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

The TAP thing is a total fiasco. Sorry. But the biggest improvement to it could definitely be the add-value feature. Why on earth you’re not utilizing that I wonder every day. It’s insane. Why spend the money for the tech that does that and not do it. However, I appreciate how difficult it must be to get that to run county-wide. Coordinating the different transit agencies is a bureaucratic nightmare. Still, there should be some kind of coalition across the county working on that. Because despite you each having your own jurisdictions, it’s unreasonable to think that people aren’t all using the different lines. People go from Metro to Big Blue Bus to DASH to what-have-you. Figure it out.

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

Freeway lanes? Yeah right. Because it has clearly worked so far, right?

Transit oriented development. Only for realsies. You can’t just be like, it’s on top of a subway station but has four hundred parking spaces so it’s transit oriented.

Making more neighborhoods neighborhood-y.

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

I don’t know if it has gotten better or worse or if I am just way more aware for it. It has improved in some ways. When the expo line opens it will be magical.

How would you encourage Angelenos to use transit?

There are some places in LA which are just easier to get to via transit. The Hollywood Bowl comes to mind. If the trains were open late night, even just on Friday and Saturdays, more people would use those, guaranteed. DO THAT. Such a smart investment. And it can’t just be the Red Line, because, ha, I’m sure that worked out well. The things that feed into it need to be running, also.

You need to make it more convenient in certain segments. Because people are looking to either save money or time or something. Most people aren’t like, yes, I’d like to make some arbitrary ethical statement. They will do what is easy. If you make it so people can conveniently read a book while going to their destination, or go out drinking without worrying about drunk driving or calling a cab, they will use you.

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