Transitioning from Car Driving to Bus and Train-Hopping in LA

After 20 years of a life in LA, only in the past few months have I also started riding the bus and trains.

I'm feel like I'm making more than a concerted and strained effort to make public transit in addition to biking my main mode of travel. My transition from car driving to bus riding and train-hopping in LA has been leeched with plenty of growing pains.

-The first time I took the bus in about year was on a trip from the Valley to LA Union Station. I thought I could buy a $5 all-day Metro Pass.

Nope!

I had to buy a TAP Card...not at all available at any bus station cause that would be too convenient. I had to pick one up at Ralphs. A public pass via a private vendor!

-A week ago was the first time I tried to use the bus and trains for something important.

That morning I had to go to a meeting in Compton from the Valley. I biked to the Red Line in North Hollywood, transitioned to the Blue Line in Downtown, and got off in Compton.

Taking the red line, the underground subway from North Hollywood down to LA seemed like punishment because I couldn't actually contact anyone while underground.

The inspectors on the Blue Line were giving me shit for the bike being in THEIR way. So I had to stand up in the handicapped section of an empty ass bus.

-On Parking Day LA, September 18th, 2009, as a full-fledged newly-initiated biking enthusiast, I was fumbling with the bike rack on a Metro bus, holding up the bus for 2 minutes, and ultimately failing to pull down the bike rack correctly. The bus driver, (on the 233 Bus on Van Nuys going south at about 7:30), made a gesture to quit it and rudely told me to get on the next bus. I waited about 2-3 minutes for a Rapid line and thankfully correctly put my bike on the bus.

One of my main concerns with using the bus and trains from the experience of driving has been losing the flexibility and mobility I have with my car. With my car, I could get into almost any nook and cranny in LA at any time of the day I want.

Having a car in LA is like having a mobile phone in that it offers you the ability to connect with other people, places, things on your own terms and you can act more quickly and/or be more spontaneous with such a tool.

In contrast to this flexibility and mobility offered by the personal vehicle is the public transportation infrastructure of Los Angeles. It's like limiting my usage of the phone to pay phones.

1 comment:

Manushkin said...

sounds fuckin crappy. Guess you should move closer in.