Whether you’re moving for work or a change of scenery, you’ll need to know the best ways to traverse your new surroundings in LA.
It takes time to get around Los Angeles. According to census data, LA spans about 470 miles. The average commuter drives alone and spends roughly 33 minutes traveling to work.
Whether you’re heading to work or jetting to some e fun things to do in the area, you’ll need to know how to get around here. After all, traffic can be touch-and-go in the golden state, with the evening rush being the most troublesome.
There are many options available when it comes to getting around LA. Some work better than others depending on where you are, how much free time you have, and how much money you’re willing to spend.
Our goal is to help you see as much as possible with the least amount of effort. We’ll share with you all the best travel strategies used by those who already live here.
Let’s get started.
Get Yourself Some Wheels
Cars remain the best way to get around Los Angeles. Before you drive from LAX to downtown LA, make sure to consult a traffic index ranking to learn about the best times to hit the freeway. Of course, that’s if your car has been shipped ahead to meet you. Otherwise, you’ll want to do a little research to find the best place to buy a car locally
The city’s congestion level tends to ebb and flow with the rhythm of the 8-to-5 office grind. Just remember not to drive during the start or end of working hours whenever possible.
Make sure to use your preferred GPS application so you don’t get lost. They also help you find the quickest routes to your destination. We’re big fans of Waze because of its real-time traffic updates.
Waze takes you off the beaten path through the side streets, so you’ll get a more authentic feel for the area.
The LA Metro Option
We understand that driving might not be your thing. It can be stressful and confusing to navigate a new city by car. Train rides allow you to kick back, relax, and engage in a hobby such as reading while you travel to your destination.
A word of caution: LA’s color-coded Metro lines aren’t as robust as other metropolitan areas such as Chicago. If you’re trying to hit up the destinations most frequented by tourists, the Red Line (now called the B Line) will be your best bet.
You can take the B Line to travel from Downtown Los Angeles to North Hollywood. It hits 14 different stations, passing many of LA’s most iconic restaurants and attractions. You’ll have access to Grand Central Market, the LA Convention Center, the Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, and more when taking this train.
Hours of operation are roughly 4:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m. during the weekdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, you can find trains scheduled as late as 2:30 a.m.
Trains arrive at regular intervals, approximately every 10-20 minutes. If you’re traveling during peak hours, they show up more frequently. A trip across the entire line takes about 30 minutes.
A one-way ticket costs $1.75, which includes transfers to other lines for up to two hours. Before you can board, you’ll need a TAP card. You can purchase these at any railway or bus station, or you can download the app. You’ll also find them at various vendors throughout Los Angeles County. If you plan on using either the bus or the metro, TAP cards are reloadable travel cards that work on both forms of public transportation.
You can also purchase a Los Angeles Metro day pass for $7 or a weekly pass for $25.
The Bus System
Once you have your TAP card ready to go, you can also use it to ride the bus. There are more than 165 bus routes at your disposal in Los Angeles County.
Unlike many other cities, LA offers three different types of bus services. You can identify them by their colors:
- Local buses are orange. You’ll find them in crowded districts and near tourist attractions. They make frequent stops and are your slowest option overall.
- Rapid buses are red. You’ll need to check route maps in advance because they only stop at major intersections.
- Express buses are blue. These travel longer distances on the freeway. They are most commonly used by local commuters and cost a higher premium to ride.
How Much is Bus Fare in Los Angeles?
Bus fare costs $1.75 per ride, just like the Metro rail. More than half of all Metro riders qualify for some discount. Reduced fair categories include seniors (ages 62 and older), college or vocational school students, K-12 students, and people with disabilities.
Taxis give you more control over which routes you take to get around, but they hit your wallet harder than The Metro or buses.
On average, taxi fares end up at about $45 per hour. Your starting rate will be $2.85 from the flag drop. Each additional mile will run you $2.70. A flat trip from LAX to Downtown costs $46.50.
A word of caution: if you’re used to hailing cabs in your city, it probably won’t work as well in LA. Reserving a taxi through an app such as Curb works best to ensure you can find a driver willing to help you out.
If you’re looking for a comparatively less expensive option, go for rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft.
Whatever option works best for you, make sure you download all the necessary apps before your visit.
Make LA Your Permanent Getaway
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