Why You Don't Ride: A., West L.A.

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: A.
Occupation: Assistant
Location: West L.A.

Your Transportation Routine:

How often do you drive and for what purpose?

I don’t drive in L.A., I walk.

Where are you typically traveling from and going to?


How many vehicles do you or your family have?


How long does your commute typically take?

5 minutes walking.

Briefly, how would you describe your typical driving 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

Do you use any forms of alternative transportation?

I walk.

Why do you drive?

When I have to– safety issues as a lone female, to travel long distances (out of town), convenience, saves time.

Your Perspective:

Why can’t/don’t you take transit?

Time schedule uncertain; I hate waiting and not knowing when the next bus will come. Some of the buses try to run on time, but there’s always that one moment when, for whatever reason, the bus has broken down and everybody has to get on the next bus half an hour late. This has happened to me far too many times for me to consider the Metro bus reliable.

Have you tried to use transit before? What was your experience?

See above.

What could local transit agencies do to encourage you to take transit more often?

Post schedules on bus stops, not just the major ones. Have buses move more reliably.


How do you feel about buses?

I’d ride a bus if there was a route that served my needs.

How do you feel about rail?

I’d ride rail if it there was a route that served my needs.

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

BUILD A SUBWAY TO WEST LA. Seriously, half of the city commutes here to work– and yet we have to take bus to the nearest Red Line.

11 replies

  1. Well, I’m over by LAX, and it’s definitely not suburban. We have two colleges here, two high schools, and a huge population who uses the bus. On those once-an-hour runs, the bus is often so packed that there are people crowded all the way down to the front doorways by the time we hit the seventh stop. There are also a lot of seniors in the area who cannot drive, and need the bus.

    Is the low ridership because the area is geared toward cars, or because the locals have given up on any chance of reliable service? Given what I see on the bus, it would be reasonable to deduce that if service were increased here, it would be used quite a bit.

  2. If the bus you are taking comes once an hour, then you are in either of the two buckets 1) you don’t live in a dense neighborhood that needs increased service or 2) your destination is not in a dense area. Servicing either one of those two areas are a significant cost/burden on the agency. Maybe the person needs to re-assess their living situation (i.e. large home with big backyard, cul-de-sac, etc..) or their business is in a place where driving/parking is the company’s main concern and not transit access.

    Metro should focus on core service. Providing service to neighborhoods far and away with low ridership is not efficient. Those neighborhoods are probably not meant for transit usage. You wouldn’t have this service level problem in West LA, downtown, Long Beach, Hollywood, Westlake, Warner Center, etc… areas with density that can support increased transit service. Those are areas where people need transit service to get to important destinations or where density resides. We cannot be tearful that Metro provides hourly service to suburban neighborhoods that are primarily built for car-oriented travel.

  3. Well, Kelly, it’s great that you had the discipline to get up that early to get to work, and the time to do it. That’s really commendable.

    The problem is that asking people to double and treble their commute time is unreasonable in the long run. It’s one thing to plan ahead and it’s another thing to have to constantly accommodate for late and unreliable service.

    If Metro wants to increase ridership, they need to increase the incentive to use the system. If we have the choice of hopping in a car and getting somewhere in 30 minutes or waiting on Metro for 3 hours because the bus might or might not show up, most of us will opt for the former option, if we can. If the schedule only has the bus coming once an hour, we might decide it’s too much of a risk and drive.

    More buses on the schedule; more reliability. It’s a no-brainer. I’m excited about Metro too, but I think the system has room for improvement.

  4. Response to buses running in “groups”. Frequently it is not a scheduling problem; there are some bus operators who just will not adhere to the prescribed schedule, because…..1) absence of “road supervisors”; those positions were eliminated in the early to mid ’90s; 2) rookie “drivers” just don’t seem to be able to manage and “operate” effeciently, plus lack of “work ethic.” These “drivers” seem to believe that because there’s no visible supervision they just do what they do without consequence.

  5. I don’t own a car. I ride Metro everywhere. Even when I had 3 part-time jobs I got where I needed to go on the Metro. I would get up and out to the bus on Sunday at 5:20 am to get to work at 8:00 am. Not because it took that long on the bus, but because the bus only ran once every 45 minutes. I needed to leave EARLY to ensure that if one bus broke down, or didn’t show up, there would be at least 2 more coming to get me to work on time. I am VERY THANKFUL that there is a Metro in my area, and getting up early and leaving extra early to ENSURE I arrive at work ontime is not an inconvenience, its my responsibility to my employer, to my family and to my children.

    When one drives a car, one puts time and money into car maintenance, tires, brakes, gas, tune-ups, you take care of your car, you “do what you need to do” so it will get you where you need to go. Apply that same logic to riding Metro “do what you need to do” (get up early, arrive early, plan ahead for potential delays) to get where you need to go.

    I for one am extrememly grateful for Metro and I am excited for the future of public transportation in Los Angeles.

  6. I’m going to jump on this 733/33 tangent. The headways are definitely off on the eastbound return. I’ve waited in rush hour for long periods, to only have three 33/733 buses roll up at once. To be honest, westbound seems pretty solid unless there’s an unavoidable issue (accident, road closure, etc.).

    However, to be fair, the 733 is a new(er) line, and Venice is pretty unpredictable. Still, I think it’s something that needs to be worked out. Seems like on much of Venice there’s room for a…*cough dedicated lane cough*.

  7. I’ve ridden the bus most of my life. I’ve ridden the 33/733 every weekday for about 4 years. This is the most mismanaged bus line I’ve ever seen. Every day I see 2 of the rapid 733 buses following each other, both almost empty – do we really need 2 extra-long buses following each other? -NO- I see this happening EVERY DAY, in both directions. Then, typically 30 seconds after tow #733s pass, a #33 bus comes down the road.. so that’s 3 buses in the space of a minute, in the same direction, and then no buses for 30 or 40 minutes after that – this is extremely frustrating to the riders. If you happen to miss the bus by a few seconds, and see 3 of them drive by and then you have to wait 30 or 40 minutes for the next one, it is extremely aggravating. Why can’t these buses be spaced so that there is one bus every 10 minutes, instead of 3 all at once every 30 to 40 minutes. It’s a huge waste of a resource because this grouping of two or thee buses are almost always 90% empty, and they seem to come in waves – and if you are 10 seconds late, the buses don’t wait for you, they just drive on by… and you have to wait 30 to 40 minutes for the next group of 2 or 3 buses. It is totally ridiculous.

  8. to A. R. and Kelly
    Don’t know if you two take buses.
    Imagine waiting the buses that supposed to come once an hour, 30 minute, and come 2 hours later.
    It is even frustrating during raining day, during 100degree weather, or cold night.

    That is the reason many people hate to fight the traffic, but they still have no choices, but to drive.

    For us, who have no choice, just hope the buses will come on time.

    We understand there is traffic/traffic accidents/other unforeseeable problems, but sometimes the delay happen almost everyday.

    What is the remedy? More freq bus service? I am not the only one said. Many people have said they don’t mind if buses are late so long next buses come within 15 minutes.

    Manny people have argued that rails is the solution for on time schedule. I agree except we don’t even have enough budget to build rail in WLA. Sometimes, MTA has to cut the bus service to supplement. As a result, rails still don’t go many places. Bus service still stink. People have to drive to train stations.

    The other solution, live closer to work. That is probably the only solution, but how many can do it especially people no longer have perm jobs

  9. I agree with Kelly’s point. I find public transit to be far more reliable and consistent than the nightmare that is our freeway system.

  10. “Some of the buses try to run on time, but there’s always that one moment when, for whatever reason, the bus has broken down and everybody has to get on the next bus half an hour late. This has happened to me far too many times for me to consider the Metro bus reliable.”

    I have found that driving in your car is no more reliable then riding Metro. What is the difference between sitting in your car on the 405 for 2 hours waiting for an accident to clear (or waiting 45 mintues to an hour for AAA to fix your flat tire)or sitting in a broken down bus for 15 to 30 minutes waiting for the next run to come by. The difference is you know a Metro is coming, but you never know when the freeway will be cleared, or when that AAA tow truck will show up. Leave early…works for me everytime.