LA Metro Adventures
Blogger: Daphne Auza
Unpopular opinion: I like public transportation.
By no means would I claim that the system here in Los Angeles is perfect. But since I don’t have a car and insist on leaving campus as often as possible for mini adventures and internships, I’ve been taking the bus and metro to get pretty much everywhere since my first year here. Yup, back when the 28 to Eagle Rock Plaza was still the 84. And I’m kind of proud to say that despite the horror stories about delays and stalled buses, I have never been late for anything as long as I have been using LA Metro.
My dependence on the bus does mean that I’ve had to make a few unfortunate accommodations in my schedule. For one, I refuse to ride the bus if it turns out the route will take three hours or longer. A rideshare like Lyft or Sidecar would probably be a better investment in that case. I also give myself a 1.5-2 hour time frame to get wherever I need to go if it’s outside Eagle Rock and Glendale. Maybe all this sounds inconvenient, but it’s allowed me tons of practice in making the best out of my commutes.
More than anything else, public transportation has helped me familiarize myself with the city. As massive as LA is, I’m far from an expert, but the Oxy bubble can make you forget there are other communities out there. Even if you have a car, the freeways tend to navigate around the diverse neighborhoods that make up LA. For my summer job, I had a 1.5 hour commute that took me through Glassell Park, Chinatown, Downtown, into the subway, and through Koreatown. If I hadn’t ventured to test out different routes, or converse with the people I met on the way, I doubt if I’d know any street names beyond the ones surrounding Oxy.
Riding the bus and metro did and still continues to shape many of my college experiences. It was how I found my way to the Americana freshman year and thought that I’d wandered into a movie set. A mishap in my route calculations was what first brought me to the little oasis that I soon learned was Echo Park Lake. And I still remember emerging from the dark subway stairs last summer and being nearly blinded by the glaring sun and gleaming skyscrapers towering over Grand Park. Currently I use it three times a week to get to an internship in Pasadena.
Public transportation may not be ideal, but I do think it’s a great way to take initiative in your explorations of LA, especially as a student. For one, it’s affordable - TAP cards, the transit cards that allow you to purchase metro fare, cost $1 if you order them by mail and $6 if you purchase them with a day pass at a vending machine. I also personally believe that the 110 doesn’t need another vehicle clogging it during rush hour.
In the past three years, I’ve been grateful to so many people and experiences for making my time at Oxy what it is . But one unlikely thing that I’ve been treasuring lately is my trusty TAP card. Without it, I have no idea (literally) where I would be.