Taking transit to the airport: can it be done?

Summer is a season of travel, and the Los Angeles area is served by multiple airports big and small. Three of the most used ones include LAX, Hollywood Burbank Airport and Long Beach Airport. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to limit yourself driving to any of them. Here are a few transit connections that can get you to each of these airports.

Hollywood Burbank Airport

Photo by Eric Fredericks, via Flickr creative commons.

Burbank Bus: offers service Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. between Hollywood Burbank Airport and North Hollywood Station, where you can connect with the Red Line subway or Orange Line bus. Airport buses depart North Hollywood every 15 minutes during AM and PM commute periods, every 20 minutes during mid-day, and every 45 minutes in the late evening. Fare is $1 or free with an EZ Transit Pass. A regular Metro-to-Muni transfer is $.50 and Burbank Bus accepts TAP. Free weekend service from North Hollywood Station is provided by Hollywood Burbank Airport Shuttle; call 818.558.3179 for more info.

Metrolink: the Ventura County Line serves Burbank Airport–South station located south of the airport. The train station is a short quarter-mile walk from the terminal area, and a free shuttle bus with luggage racks connects the terminals and train station. Amtrak’s Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner also stop at this station. The Antelope Valley Line stops at the Burbank Airport–North station, located about 1 mile north of the terminal near the intersection of San Fernando Boulevard and Hollywood Way. A free shuttle bus ferries passengers between station and terminal. Metrolink fares vary depending on distance traveled.

Long Beach Airport

Long Beach Transit: Long Beach Transit Bus 102 and Long Beach Transit Bus 104 provide service to the airport and connect with the Metro Blue Line at Willow Station. Long Beach Transit Bus 111 connects with the Metro Blue Line at First Street and Downtown Long Beach Station. Regular Long Beach Transit fare is $1.25. A regular Metro-to-Muni transfer is $.50 and Long Beach Transit accepts TAP.


A Los Angeles World Airports rendering of the people mover’s stations near the LAX terminals. Until that becomes an option, however…

Metro Green Line: the Green Line connects to LAX at Aviation/LAX Station. From there, catch the G shuttle bus to the terminals. The shuttle is free with valid proof of transit. Aviation/LAX Station is also served by numerous other bus lines, including Culver CityBus, Beach Cities Transit (Redondo Beach), and Big Blue Bus (Santa Monica). Regular Metro fare is $1.75 for travel in one-direction and includes 2 hours of free transfers.

FlyAway: FlyAway offers service to LAX from the following locations. Fares vary depending on starting location.

  • Hollywood (on Vine Street, half a block south of Hollywood Blvd., near Metro Red Line Hollywood/Vine Station)
  • Long Beach (corner of 1st St. and Long Beach Blvd. at Shelter A, offers connections to Metro Blue Line)
  • Orange Line (south side of Victory Blvd., east of Woodley Ave., along the Metro Orange Line route)
  • Union Station (Downtown Los Angeles served by Metro Bus, Rail and municipal buses)
  • Van Nuys (San Fernando Valley)
  • Westwood (West Los Angeles/UCLA)

City Bus Center: the City Bus Center is served by numerous bus lines, including Metro Bus 40, 102111, Culver CityBus, Torrance Transit (South Bay), and Big Blue Bus. Transfer to the free Lot C shuttle from the City Bus Center to reach the terminals.

17 replies

  1. Why is it so hard to have rail go directly the airports? LAX, Burbank, and Long beach all have train lines that are not that far away. In Chicago, the Blue Line takes you right to O’Hare and the Orange Line takes you to Midway. Is it really the taxi lobby? I have read that they kept train service from JFK in NY for many years.

  2. I take Metrolink to Union Station to Flyaway almost weekly from the IE. Love it and much easier than driving.

  3. I’m taking the Flyaway from Downtown in a couple hours. Works like a charm every time!

  4. I live five miles north of LAX and I use transit to get there and back almost every time now. The total travel time on transit is 10-20 minutes more than Lyft when I use the Big Blue Bus, and it costs $10-15 less.
    One trick that I use when I’m flying Southwest out of Terminal 1: I ride the BBB 3 local, I get off the bus in front of the Airport Police Station (the stop before the City Bus Center), and I walk through the Park One lot directly to Terminal 1. This walk takes less than ten minutes, compared to 15-20 minutes (including wait time) if I use the shuttle bus from Lot C.

  5. For people that would want to pick up seniors at the airport with Metro transit [Green LIne] it is possible to load normal TAP cards with peak and off-peak senior fares. No Day Pass though. Get your TAP cards before July 15th when the price rises to $2.

    Also the “people mover’s stations near the LAX terminals.” are not “near” the Terminals. In fact, they are as far from the terminals as they could possible be–in the middle and near none. The terminals are better served with the G bus now than the future.

  6. Hilarious! You can also WALK to LAX from Long Beach. Yes, you CAN take transit to the airport. But should it take one hour and 45 minutes to go 24 miles from Long Beach to LAX?

  7. How do you actually take advantage of the Metro-Muni transfer for $0.50? Do you buy this fare at the machine? What about on the bus? I don’t think this is automatic if just tapping.

    • Hi,

      You can load a transfer on your TAP card at a TVM, or let the operator know on a bus.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

      • It should happen automatically. Having to stop and ask for it slows the boarding process. Just how many of these transfers can you have preloaded on a TAP at once? Can you add them via the website? With paper transfers and cash you throw the money into the fare box and the operator gives you the pass, bam!

      • Anna – Isn’t this process supposed to become automated in June, i.e. tomorrow? I’m recall reading that on The Source a couple months ago.

  8. Once the people mover is completed, Metro need to start thinking about express trains to LAX or else it’s going to be a long ride.

  9. I’m looking forward to when the People Mover at LAX is finally completed in 2023. Then taking mass transit to LAX is a possible option for business or single traveling. If traveling with the family, a shuttle van is the better option.

  10. I remember the 220, also the 439. To be honest, Metro doesn’t ever mention the 232. This is really the only bus line that goes on to “LAX property”. Its too bad its not very reliable. If you can catch it, this will connect you to the LAX transit center (shuttles serve this transit center), or you can go to the less congested and more peaceful Mariposa Green Line Station in about five to ten minutes.

  11. Yeah it can be done, but in terms of LAX, it’s either currently expensive or just outright inconvenient. I tried doing LAX via Public Transit a few weeks ago, and it was going to take 2 hours to get there from Silver Lake vía Red, Expo Line and Rapid 3, not including the transfer to shuttle. Try doing that carrying heavy luggage plus a book bag.

    I’m almost positive that if an actual Public Transit Line actually made a stop at least 2-3 terminals, it would make a HUGE difference.

    The LAX flyaway came through at $9, so yeah there’s that.

    • Red/Silver/Green/G Shuttle would be a bit of an adventure but I find this works really well (particularly to get you past the congestion on the 105) if you don’t have too much luggage.

  12. The MTA and prior to that the RTD provided direct service from West Hollywood adjacent to Division 7 to LAX via the 220 Line. It was cut back several times and now no longer exists. There is now no alternative except to now travel to the Hollywood/ Vine Red Line Station to catch the Airport Shuttle or catch Line 704 to Santa Monica and transfer to the Blue Bus which takes about twice as long. From experience as both a RTD Bus Operator and a RTD/MTA Supervisor the 220 Line had a constant passenger load that exceeded many current MTA bus lines.