We know you’ve heard the punchlines about how nobody will ever walk or take the subway in L.A., that we’re all too obsessed with our cars to ever change our ways. Well, we are here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way. You can break free of the traffic snarl and switch up how you get around town. But before you let the recent abundance of transit options overwhelm you with the multi-modality of it all, try starting off with the basics. This is how to take Metro in L.A. even if you’ve never set foot on a subway platform before.
Step 1: Figure Out Where You’re Going
There are lots of ways to plot out how you’re going to get from Point A to Point B. Google Maps has Metro data built in or you can use Metro’s own trip planner. If you’re used to zipping around in your car, you might notice that the estimated times to get between places is a little (or, in some cases, notably) longer than it takes to drive, but remind yourself that it’s fine. You’re going to enjoy that extra time for reading a book (or Los Angeles magazine—wink). You can even stare at your phone on some of the lines, if that’s what you’re into (more on that here). If you’ll be driving to your starting Metro station, be sure to check the listings of which stations have on-site parking before you head out.
Step 2: Pay Your Fare
Perhaps you’re worried that you don’t have a token and thus will have to jump a turnstyle to get onto the train? Great news! This is not 1989 and you, reader, are not a Beastie Boy. You will instead pay with a TAP card, available from vending machines at the station. If you’re anxious about the seasoned Metro riders seeing you fumbling at the vending machine, you can order one online and have it sent to you in advance. A fun thing about that TAP card is that, once you’ve got it activated and loaded up, the same card is accepted by 24 different transit agencies around the region, not just Metro.
As for the fare itself, our crystal ball tells us your ride is going to be $1.75. We’re kind of psychic. But also every one-way local trip on Metro is always $1.75, regardless of where you get on or off or what time of day you travel. The only exception is Express and Silver Line bus trips, which are $2.50.
Step 3: Hop On Board
Proceed to the platform and await your chariot. This is a great time to snap some arty subway photos so people will know that you are very environmentally conscious and participate in city life. Look for maps overhead that will help you keep track of when your stop is coming up and try to be polite to your fellow commuters.
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