We’re in the heat of beach season, which means Santa Monica and Venice are calling. With traffic and parking, driving to the Pacific is a non-starter, especially on weekends. Thankfully, for the first time in decades, we have a new option—the Expo Line. Are you making the most of L.A.’s first Expo Line (to the beach) summer? Here are some fool-proof tips to make the train experience as pleasant as possible.
• Head to the front. Many have complained of sardine-like conditions on Expo, but we’ve found the less-jammed train cars tend to be the ones in the front. When arriving at the platform, head as far to the front as possible; you’re more likely to find a seat.
— Laurie Ochoa (@Laurie_Ochoa) August 14, 2016
• Get in the shiny, gray train cars. Often, Expo trains consist of two or three separate train cars joined together, often with older (white train cars) linked with newer (gray). If possible, hop on the gray, they’re cleaner and shinier.
• Don’t ever pay attention to the station announcements. If you’re relying on the automated voices to tell you what station you’re at, you could be screwed. The train was off a station during one of our rides this week. If you don’t want to miss your stop, just look out the window (at the signage) and pay no credence to the robot voice.
• Be wary of biking between the Sepulveda and Bundy stations. The bike lane between these two West L.A. stations is seriously wonky and forces cyclists to cross and re-cross several streets. If you have the benefit of sunlight, you may be better off riding on Pico Boulevard.
• Secret parking in Culver City. Surface lot in Culver City all full? Head over to the Platform shopping mall across the street; there’s plenty of parking there. Be nice and buy a Blue Bottle coffee while you’re there.
• Traveling west from DTLA? Head to Pico. If we’re heading to the beach from downtown, we always prefer the above-ground Pico station to the 7th/Metro subway station. No going underground at Pico, and it’s typically less frenetic since it doesn’t service the Red and Purple lines. And if you have a bike with you, Pico is always more pleasant.
• Headphones are a must. Since Expo is almost completely above-ground, phone service is part of the deal. You’ll want to catch up on podcasts or Pandora, or just avoid the loud-talkers sitting in the seat ahead of you.
• Nix the open-toed shoes. Yes, it’s the beach train but throw a pair of flip-flops in your bag—you never know what you’re going to step in. We’re not necessarily talking about human waste, but we did touch down on an upturned ice cream cone the other day.
• There are outlets on the train!?
— mdmurphyla (@mdmurphyla) August 14, 2016