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Ideal Ways To Get Around In The Busy Streets Of LA

When people think about getting around Los Angeles, they often think that the only way is to drive. LA doesn’t have a comprehensive subway system like New York, and the city is so sprawling that walking is not possible a lot of the time. When visiting Los Angeles however, there are quite a few options on how to get from place to place. LA has a range of public and private transportation options that are safe, comfortable, and reliable.

This article is a guide of ideal ways to get around in the busy streets of LA.

1. Walk around Where Possible

Los Angeles is a very large city and it covers a spread out area and so most locals need to drive to work or to get almost anywhere. But each area in LA has so much to see and do that the first option, especially if you are just visiting Los Angeles, is to use your own two feet. If you can manage to walk someplace then you should do it. Take advantage of LA’s incredible weather and explore the city. The weather in Los Angeles is perfect 99% of the time, so almost every day is ideal for a stroll in the sun. Walk around, explore, get lost, and take tons of pictures. If you come from a country where cars drive on the other side of the road, make sure you take just an extra second to look around you. Keep a lookout for signs and stay safe.

2. Ride a Scooter

Because so many people drive to get around, Los Angeles’ traffic is infamously terrible. One great way to get around LA, especially at busy times is by scooter. Scooter drivers can zip in and out of traffic and can complete a journey in LA in less than half the time that it would take someone driving a car. There are loads of great scooter options here that are perfect for jumping the queue in LA traffic jams. Another problem with so many people driving cars in Los Angeles is that it can be next to impossible to find a parking space, and even when you do find one, they can be very expensive. If you drive a scooter, you will never have to worry about finding a parking space because you can park pretty much anywhere for free. As mentioned above, the weather in LA is always dry and sunny so you don’t usually need to worry about being caught in the rain when you are riding a scooter in Los Angeles. It is very important to be aware of all the traffic around you when you are riding a scooter, as with so many cars on the road, accidents can happen very easily. The best advice when riding a scooter in LA is to assume that everyone is going to pull out in front of you without signaling or brake suddenly in front of you. Stay alert and keep as much distance between your scooter and other vehicles as possible.

3. Rent a Metro Bike

Renting a metro bike is quite simple and only costs $1.75 for 30 minutes or $5 for a whole 24-hour period, though most people generally tend to rent them for a short time. Metro bikes are really fun and are a great way to get around in downtown LA, around the USC campuses, as well as Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and the Port of Los Angeles (otherwise known as the city of Long Beach). All you need to do is check a metro bike out of the rental station and you are good to go. Metro bikes are a great way to see different parts of the city and are a great way to exercise. One great thing about metro bikes is you don’t need to return them to the same rental station that you got the bike from. Metro bikes can be checked out of one rental station and then returned to a completely different metro station at the end of your time.

4. Ride the Bus

Your fourth option to get around Los Angeles is to use one of the many bus systems in LA. The bus system is very reliable in Los Angeles and you can find a bus route that can take you pretty much anywhere and usually on time. The first thing you should do when you arrive in Los Angeles is to download the Citymapper app. Citymapper gives you all the local public transportation options and makes it super easy to get around LA. All you have to do is enter your start point and destination and the Citymapper app will give you all the information and routes you need to travel. It’s best if you have your tap cards already loaded before you get on the bus and be aware that each person in your group needs to have their tap card. Once you get in from the front of the bus just tap on the validator or deposit your $1.75. There is no change given on the bus so make sure you have the correct money or small bills if you are paying with cash. It is important to note that if you want to transfer to another bus line or the Metro Rail, then make sure to tell the bus driver that you want to transfer before you pay. Transfers are valid for up to two hours. If you’ll be hopping on and off the Metro buses to get around during your travels be forewarned that during traffic hours pretty much anywhere in LA is going to take twice as long, so budget your time accordingly. The bus system can be pretty confusing at first, but with apps like Google Maps and Citymapper, you will start to get the hang of it after a little while. If you haven’t used those apps before, plan your route ahead of schedule so that you are familiar with them and don’t get lost. When you’re on the bus, keep your eyes on the digital screen and when you see your stop coming up next, make sure to press the red stop button or pull the lever so that the driver knows you want to get off. LA buses do not stop at every bus stop if no one wants to get on or get off so just keep an eye out for your stop and get ready. Most Los Angeles bus routes run later than the Metro Rail and usually end around 1:00 am or 2:00 am. On the weekend they may continue a little later than this, but not much later.

5. Ride the Metro Rail

The fourth option for getting around Los Angeles is the Metro Rail which goes both above ground and underground. Whilst the Metro Rail system is nowhere near as comprehensive as the subway in New York or the London Underground, it is still a great way to get to many places in LA. The Metro Rail is a system that runs on time and usually isn’t too overcrowded. There are a few things you need to know before riding the LA Metro Rail. First of all, if you are going to be traveling around LA using the subway, you are going to need a tap card. Tap cards are the best way to pay on LA buses and are the only way to get onto the subway. You can’t go through the gates to get on the trains with cash or credit card so you are going to need to fill up your tap card at the vending machines which are at every station. Another way that you can fill up your tap card is to fill it online after you receive the card. You can pick up a tap card at over 400 locations throughout LA, with one most likely near to wherever you are staying. To find out where the nearest tap card vendor is, you can check the tap vendor directory online. When you’re ready to jump on a train, tap in by simply swiping your tap card over the reader and you will also be shown your remaining balance. Once you exit, there’s no need to tap out again. If you’re somewhere in the Hollywood area, you will normally need to exit through the barriers, but the gates will be unlocked so just walkthrough. The cost of your journey is going to be the same regardless of the time of day, and it’s just $1.75 one-way for two hours even if you’re traveling at peak times. Unlike in other cities, there are no metro zones on the Los Angeles Metro Rail System so you are going to be charged by how far you go. Off-peak hours when the trains are quietest are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 pm and then again later on from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. The weekends are off-peak all day.

6. By Car

Most people get around LA by car, but as mentioned above the traffic can be bad, especially at peak times. If you are going to drive, it is also important to remember that Los Angeles has special roads that only people who are carpooling are allowed to use. This is to encourage people to drive less and share rides more often and if you are caught driving alone in the carpool lane by the police you will have to pay a hefty fine. The fine in California is $490 so even though it can be very tempting to try and avoid the traffic by taking the carpool lane, it isn’t worth it if you get caught.

7. By Lyft or Uber

If you want to travel by car but don’t have one or don’t want to drive yourself, a great way to get around LA is by Lyft or Uber. If you have never heard of these, they are like taxi services which you book via applications on your smartphone. These apps can use GPS to track your location and you can order a driver to come and pick you up wherever you are and take you to your destination. Uber and Lyft are very easy to use and are super affordable. Using these apps is a great way to get around LA with all the traffic and super long distances as it can give you time to answer your emails, take some pictures and get to know the city. If you order the right through the app the driver will know exactly where you are and the best route to your destination. These apps are usually much cheaper than taxis and you typically won’t need to exchange any money because it’s all done conveniently through the app. Different people have their preferences, but in Los Angeles at least, Lyft seems to be just a tad cheaper. Uber and Lyft are very safe as all the drivers are checked and everything is overseen by the companies’ systems. That being said, never get in a car which is different from the one that the app says is coming for you or when the driver doesn’t look like the same person in their picture. There are over 100,000 Uber and Lyft drivers operating in LA so you shouldn’t have to wait too long for a lift. The price of rides can increase significantly at busy times so try and plan your journeys when the demand is lower whenever possible to get the cheapest deal possible.

Los Angeles is a fantastic city and whether you are living in LA or just coming to visit as a tourist there are so many things to see and do. To get around the busy streets of LA, there is a huge range of transport options available. If you want to take public transport then both the bus and Metro Rail services are very reliable. If you decide to drive or take an Uber or Lyft, just be aware that traffic can be really bad and that a scooter is a great alternative to get around LA quicker.

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