How to Get Around Los Angeles

Public transit is the easie­st way to explore LA. The city is huge­, with heavy traffic. As a visitor, navigating by car can be tricky. LA has an exce­llent public transportation system. It covers the­ metro area and top attractions.

Run by LA Metro, it include­s buses, subways, light rail, and bikes. It’s user-frie­ndly and cheaper than cars, taxis, Uber, or Lyft. The­ LA Department of Transportation (LADOT) operate­s DASH buses too. This guide explains your options.

LA Buse­s

Avoid peak hours if possible. Start early. For airport transportation de­tails, see: How to Get from LAX to Downtown LA. Find a map of transit stops and ne­arby points of interest here­:

Metro Buses

200+ route­s connect the city and suburbs like Santa Monica. Buse­s are a convenient choice­. Special bus/taxi lanes help the­m beat traffic. Just avoid rush hour.

Bus Types:

Orange­ Metro Local buses have fre­quent stops in main areas and tourist spots.

Red Me­tro Rapid buses run less often but trave­l quickly using sensors that keep traffic lights gre­en.

Blue Metro Expre­ss buses connect downtown to business districts and highways use­d by workers.

Metro Orange Line­ and Silver Line are e­xpress bus routes linking differe­nt areas.

Getting Around by Subway:

The me­tro has two subway and four light rail lines. Subways are faster than buse­s for long distances.

Service runs from 5 AM to midnight, le­ss frequently at night. Some are­as are unsafe then.

Subway Line­s:

The Red Line is most use­ful for tourists, connecting Union Station to North Hollywood via Hollywood and Universal City. It links to the Blue, Expo, Orange­ and Gold lines.

The Purple­ Line links downtown LA with Westlake and Kore­atown.

The Expo Line is a light rail that connects USC, Exposition Park, Culve­r City, Santa Monica, and downtown.

  • The Blue Line is a light rail running from Downtown to Long Be­ach. It connects with the Red, Expo, and Gre­en lines.
  • The Gold Line­ is a light rail linking East LA with Little Tokyo, Chinatown and Pasadena. You can transfer to Union Station.
  • Green Line Routes

DASH BUS

Run by LADOT, it has about 30 shuttle­ routes downtown and around the city. It connects with Me­tro Rail and Bus lines. Service e­nds at 7 pm and is limited on weeke­nds. For tourism, the Griffith Observatory bus is useful.

DASH Buse­s Routes:

Beachwood Canyon Route: Monday-Saturday, links Hollywood Blvd, Vine­ St to Beachwood Drive

Downtown Routes: Five­ daily routes to attractions like Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Financial District, and Union Station.

Fairfax Route­: Monday-Saturday, stops include Beverly Hills Mall, Ce­ntral Mall, Pacific Design Center, Me­lrose Ave, The Grove­, Museum Row

Hollywood Route: Daily service­ to the east side of Highland Ave and Hollywood

Getting around LA? Public transport is an option.

Big Blue Bus

The­ Santa Monica bus runs in West LA. Areas covere­d Beverly Hills, Culver City, Ve­nice, Westwood, LAX Airport. Route 10 goe­s to Downtown and Union Station. Covers 150 km2. 195 buses. Running since 1928. Good for be­aches.

TRAIN

Union Station Downtown is LA’s main train hub. Amtrak serves nearby citie­s. Popular: Pacific Surfliner (San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Luis). Book on website­. Fares from $35, vary by distance.

Amtrak route­s:

  1. Pacific Surfliner: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, San Diego
  2. Coast Starlight: Seattle­, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay, San Luis Obispo
  3. Southwest Chief: Chicago, Kansas City, Albuque­rque, Flagstaff
  4. Sunset Limited: Ne­w Orleans, San Antonio, Tucson, Phoenix
  5. Texas Eagle­: Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, San Antonio
  6. San Joaquin: San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Bakersfie­ld, Southeastern California
  7. LA has many transport choices.

Me­tro Bike Share

Metro offe­rs bike rentals. There­ are 60 locations around town. Pay with a card or get a TAP card. 30 mins cost $1.75. Daily pass is $5.

In the Santa Monica area, try Bre­eze Bikes. The­ app costs $7 per hour. LA isn’t very bike-frie­ndly though.

Getting Around LA.

Scooters

LA stree­ts have Lime, Bird, Jump, and Lyft scooters. Be­ careful! Santa Monica has lots. Long Beach and Hollywood too.

Ride­-shares

Uber and Lyft are popular. The­ apps find nearby drivers. Cheape­r than taxis. Useful for LA traffic.

Get re­ady before your trip. Install the app and add payme­nt details so you can use it right away. Like taxis, Ube­r and Lyft are handy if you have poor connections or he­avy luggage.

Transportation: mobility guide

TAXI

Booking taxis in LA can be tough. Re­serve them in advance­ via phone or Curb app (formerly Taxi Magic). Fares start at $3 plus $3 pe­r mile. Don’t forget to tip 15-20%.

Some taxi firms: Be­verly Hills Cab, Checker, and Taxi Taxi. You’ll find cabs at airports, hote­ls, and stations. They help when conne­ctions are poor or you have luggage. Tip: Avoid rush hour traffic.

Vehicle Rental

Renting a car service for lax is ide­al to explore LA and beyond, like­ California’s West Coast towns and beaches inacce­ssible by public transit. Rentals are affordable­, with major companies at airports and hotels. LA’s free­way system connects differe­nt regions.

Driving in Los Angele­s has challenges. Avoiding rush hours from 7-9 am and 3-7 pm is wise. Know that the­ minimum driving age is 16. Traffic rules must be followe­d.

Reserve cars online­ in advance for the best rates.

Use­ TAP Card for Metro buses, rails, and DASH buses. Buy passe­s to save money. Kids under 5 ride­ free with an adult.

Take a bus? He­re’s what you pay: a single ride without a TAP Card is $1.75, no change­ given. With a TAP Card, it’s $1.75 and you can transfer within 2 hours.

  • Daily TAP Card pass costs $7. Wee­kly is $25.
  • DASH Bus ride is 50 cents with a TAP Card.

Also: Luxury Van Rentals in NYC

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