From somewhere along the Expo Line -- On Saturday the Expo line opened from downtown LA to Culver City. On Monday, I found myself and a throng of others, squirming my way through the trains and tunnels to get to my new job in that part of town from my beloved home in the San Gabriel Valley. Here is my story:
I'd never really used the LA Metrot/ much, but getting a job so far from home gave me a huge incentive to figure it out. And, come on, when serendipity has it so that the Expo line opens just as I got a job in that part of town, you just can't say no.
Overall, my Metro experience was slick and easy -- and that's not even to mention the fact that I'm going to actually save money on my commute and read books and write pieces like this on my way to work!
As someone who's used the metros across the U.S. and in several European cities, I have to say the LA Metro is right up there with my favorite metro in D.C. You can find all the schedules and info you need online, the ticket kiosks are easy to use and the prices are comparable to what you'd be paying in gas anyway.
Riding the Metro, though, you get the added bonus of the promenade that is LA. There are older ladies wary of all of the other passengers, indifferent hispter students, self-important professionals, self-absorbed book worms, annoying cell phone conversationalists and all kinds of other folks from the cacophony of the LA scene. It's just fabulous people watching -- and that's not even to mention the scenery!
Coming from the San Gabriel Valley means I get to watch as the nice suburbs of Covina fade into the flea market of El Monte into the gray institution of Cal State LA and finally the train yard of Union Station. I'm looking forward to creating a mental catalog of the downtown skyscraper vista through the seasons and studying the traffic patterns as the weather improves.
The upshot is that my commute is the same amount of time, but I will save money on gas and have time to read and write as I get to where I'm going. I also get the benefit of the nice human and physical scenery, as opposed to bumper-to-bumper traffic, and the Metro staff has been helpful and friendly to help me get to where I'm going.
You're lucky LA, to have such a great resource to help you get to know the vast and evolving environment that we all create, even as it creates us. I can only imagine the reason the Metro is not more crowded is because most people have never tried it, which is silly, but not more so than being parked on a freeway all morning.
Sara Inés Calderón:
Sara Inés Calderón is a journalist and writer who lives between LA and Texas. Follow her on Twitter @SaraChicaD.