To save you time and money, we offer you detailed information about transportation in Los Angeles, both public and private. So you can choose the most comfortable and easy way to move around for sightseeing. Get ready to see L.A. in a fast and cheap way!
TRANSPORTATION IN LOS ANGELES
Public transportation is undoubtedly the most practical way to get around Los Angeles- a very big city with a lot of traffic . As a tourist, it can be difficult for you to drive without knowing the city. Los Angeles has a very good public transport service that will allow you to travel to any place in the metropolitan area and the see all the main attractions.
Managed by the Los Angeles Metro, it is made up of buses, subways, light rail and bikes . It is easy to use and cheaper than cars, taxis, and Uber and Lift services (the latter very popular in the United States and usually more affordable than taxis). You will also find the public transport company LA Department of Transportation (LADOT), which will interest you in DASH buses . In this article you can read about them and choose your best option.
As a piece of advice, we recommend that you avoid rush hours and leave early. If you want to know the public transport stops in detail , in the following link you will find a map that also lists the points of interest in each station: PDF Los Angeles Public Transport
Two hundred lines connect you to the entire city and the surrounding areas. So public buses are a good option to get where you want to go . Thanks to the special lane for buses and taxis, they move faster than cars. And: try to avoid rush hour.
Types of buses:
- Metro Local Buses: orange in color, with frequent stops in the main districts and tourist attractions
- Metro Rapid Buses: red in color, they don’t run as often but they will allow you to travel quickly and save time (they have sensors that keep the traffic lights green to avoid traffic!)
- Metro Express Buses: painted blue, link downtown with business districts, pass through some highways and are frequented by local workers
- Bus Rapid Transit (BTR): two express bus lines, the Metro Orange Line , which links the San Fernando Valley with North Hollywood, and the Metro Silver Line , which runs between San Pedro, Downtown and El Monte
Some people describe it as the best way to get around Los Angeles by public transport. It is made up of two metro lines and four light rail lines (a vehicle similar to a tram). The advantage of the metro is that it is faster than buses. With the subway, you can travel long distances quickly: from Downtown, you’ll reach Hollywood in forty minutes and Santa Monica in just over an hour. The inconvenient? That it happens less frequently and that there are few lines.
In general, the subways provide service from 5 in the morning until midnight (2 in the morning, on weekends). But at night they may come every 20 minutes, and then again, some are not in the safest neighborhoods.
- Red Line: attention that is the most practical for tourists. It connects Union Station, in Downtown, with North Hollywood through Hollywood and Universal City. It also connects you with the Blue, Expo, Orange and Gold lines
- Purple Line: links downtown Los Angeles with Westlake and Koreatown
- Expo Line – This light rail connects USC and Exposition Park to Culver City, Santa Monica, and downtown
- Blue Line: also light rail, runs from Downtown to Long Beach. Connects with the Red, Expo and Green lines
- Gold Line: light rail line that connects East Los Angeles with Little Tokyo, China Town and Pasadena. Has a transfer at Union Station
- Green Line – runs from Redondo Beach to Norwalk and is also a light rail line
Run by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation ( LADOT ), it consists of about 30 different shuttle bus routes through downtown and around the city. It also connects with many of the Metro Rail and Metro Bus lines. However, the service ends at 7 pm and is limited on weekends. For tourism, you will surely be interested in the bus that takes you to the Griffith Observatory .
DASH Bus routes:
- Beachwood Canyon Route: Monday through Saturday, connects Hollywood Blvd and Vine Street to Beachwood Drive
- Downtown Routes: Five routes that run daily and take you to the highlights of the city, such as Little Tokyo, Chinatown, the financial district, Union Station
- Fairfax Route: Monday through Saturday, passes through the Beverly Hills Mall, Central Mall, Pacific Design Center, Melrose Avenue, Grove, and Museum Row
- Hollywood Route – Serves the east side of Highland Avenue and Hollywood daily
BIG BLUE BUS
This Santa Monica bus service operates in much of West Los Angeles : Beverly Hills, Culver City, Venice, Westwood and LAX airport. The number 10 express bus runs from Santa Monica to Downtown and Union Station. The Big Blue Bus spans 90 square miles of Los Angeles, has a fleet of 195 vehicles, and has served Santa Monica and the Los Angeles area since 1928. A good option if you want to hit the beach.
Known as the last of the Great Railroad Stations, Union Station is located in Downtown and is the main train station in Los Angeles. The Amtrak train is often used to make trips to nearby cities . The most common among tourists traveling through California is the Pacific Surfliner convoy, which travels to cities such as San Francisco , San Diego , Santa Barbara, or San Luis. You can plan your journey with the help of the official train website . Regarding the ticket, the price starts at $35 and goes up depending on the distance of the journey.
Amtrak train lines:
- Pacific Surfliner: St. Louis, St. Barbara, San Diego
- Coast Starlight: Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay, St. Louis
- Southwest Chief: Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Flagstaff
- Sunset Limited: New Orleans, San Antonio, Tucson, Phoenix
- Texas Eagle: Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, San Antonio
- San Joaquin: San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Bakersfield, Southern California
The Los Angeles Metro public transportation system also offers public bike service , with 60 pick-up points spread throughout the city (Downtown, the port, Mid City, and Westside). To use them you can pay with your credit card or register in Metro Bike Share , on the TAP card website, and pay with this card. The price per ride is $1.75 every 30 minutes or $5 per day . If you buy a 30-day pass, it will cost you $17 per month.
There is also the Breeze Bike Share bicycle service , in the Santa Monica, Venice and Marina del Rey area. Download the Social Bicycles app and sign up, or pay on the spot. It costs $7 an hour . Still, they say Los Angeles isn’t notable for its bike system.
The streets of Los Angeles are full of scooters , so keep an eye out when you ride! Lime, Bird are some of the companies. Santa Monica is another area where there are large amount of scooters since they are used to move from this city to Venice or vice versa. In Long Beach, Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley there are also.
UBER Y LYFT
In the United States these shared ride services are widely used . Through the app, they put drivers in contact with passengers: you enter your location and destination, look at the rates and choose your trip. It is a cheaper option than the taxi and generally, easily available. Los Angeles is a city with traffic jams , so if the journey takes place at rush hour, we recommend that you leave early to avoid them.
It is also practical to download the app and enter your payment details before traveling to have the account available once you are at the destination. Like taxis, Uber and Lift will work very well for you if you are in a poorly connected area or have a lot of luggage on you.
Finding a taxi in Los Angeles can be difficult . Do it in advance by phone or with the Curb application (previously called Taxi Magic). You should know that LA is a big city with traffic, so it may not be cheap. Taxi fares are around $3 for the flag drop and about $3 more for each mile . You should also know that, as in restaurants, it is customary to leave a tip: 15-20% of the final price.
Some taxi companies are Beverly Hills Cab, Checker, and Taxi Taxi . You can find taxis parked at the airport, hotels and stations. It can be very useful if the area is not well connected or if you are loaded with luggage. Tip: to avoid traffic jams at peak times, leave with plenty of time .
RENT A CAR
The car can also be a good option to explore Los Angeles and its surroundings , for example if you want to visit the West Coast of California and discover towns, beaches and cities that are difficult to access by public transport. Rentals are relatively cheap and there are offices of the major car rental companies at the airports and in popular hotels. Additionally, Los Angeles has a freeway system . A dozen major highways connect the various regions. Another drawback is the traffic . Tip: avoid rush hours (7am to 9am and 3pm to 7pm) and, knowing that there may be poor traffic, it is advisable to spend the whole day in a specific area of the city. Remember that the minimum age to drive in California is 16 years old and that compliance with traffic regulations is very demanding.
How to book a car in Los Angeles?
The best way to secure a car in the city is to do it in advance and online . You can visit the websites of the main companies or book it with Rental car, which compares all international rental companies and their rates. The system is very easy , similar to booking. Once your reservation is made, you can manage it (if you need to cancel it, for example). The following search box allows you to view cars and the different rates available .
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND TRANSPORT PRICES
Metro Buses, Rails y DASH Buses
They work with the reusable TAP Card , which is available at TAP machines in bus or metro stations. It is one-person, it is recharged at the stations or online , and there are hotels that reuse it for other travelers (ask about it). There are reduced rates for the elderly, students and people with functional diversity , children under 5 years of age , accompanied by an adult, do not pay on Metro. Buying a pass will help you save:
- Single bus ticket (purchased upon boarding and without the TAP Card): $1.75. Not valid for transfers. The drivers do not have change, always carry the exact coins
- Simple ticket with TAP Card: $1.75 (transfers included for 2 hours)
- Day pass with TAP Card: 7$
- One week pass with TAP Card: $25
- DASH Bus single ticket: 50 cents a trip. You can pay with the TAP card
At the app level, you have MTA’s Trip Planner , to plan routes and travel times, Go Metro Los Angeles and, to buy tickets from the LADOT company, LA Mobile .
Big Blue Bus Santa Monica
- Single ticket: $1.25
- Single ticket with the TAP card: $1.10
- Day Pass: $4
- Weekly Pass: $14
- 13-ride pass (with TAP card): $14
- Express Bus from Santa Monica to Downtown: $2.50
We hope that your journeys through Los Angeles and the nearby areas will be as smooth and stress-free as possible experience, aided by information and tips that we have offered. Enjoy your rides!