09 November 2008

What a nightmare

I need to talk for a second about the plight of the carless when it comes to temporary visitors who arrive via LAX. I have some friends who will be flying into LAX this week, staying for an extra-large layover of 9 hours, and then jetting off to Australia. This is great and I will be happy to see them - if I can get there, and if we can leave the airport. You see, I attend USC and would like to leave from school to go there, but the public transportation options for getting from campus to the airport are positively abysmal. My options look like this:
  • Do what the trip planner tells me: take a long bus ride through an unfamiliar neighborhood, transfer to the Green Line, then take a shuttle to the terminals. Estimated time of travel: 60-90 minutes
  • Go north from campus and depart from Union Station, take the ever-awesome LAX Flyaway, meet them there, and then cab it. Estimated time of travel: pre-Flyaway = who knows, post-Flyaway, max 30 minutes
  • Rent a car on campus from my nemesis, ZipCar, drive to LAX, pick them up, drive them around, take them back, take the car back. Estimated time of travel: to LAX = no more than an hour; dignity lost by feeding the ZipCar beast = hard to tell
So to put it bluntly, all of these options SUCK. If the idea of biking through airport traffic didn't scare me so much I might actually consider biking but that's really a non-starter. In the end, with my schedule (and my shrinking bank account) being what it is, I suspect I will not even be able to make it and will need to see them on their return trip. But if this ridiculous decision-making process isn't illuminating as to how sad the state of public transportation is in LA, I don't know what is.

3 comments:

Alex Thompson said...

I agree that the state of public transportation, or more generally, transportation, in LA is C.R.A.P.

Concerning the ride to LAX - it can be done. I did it solo to catch a flight in October, and I've soloed it one other time when it was an absolute zoo. I've been on 5 group rides that have stormed the airport - lots of fun:

http://www.westsidebikeside.com/photos-last-weeks-cub-camp/

But, of course it's more of a thrill for the urban cyclist who wants to mash something challenging, than it is an idyllic commute option.

Will Campbell... said...

Well, I guess it'll depend on how motivated they are to meet you halfway, but instead of greeting them at the airport you could always have them catch the LAX Flyaway bus to Union Station and rendez vous there. Then from that hub you you'll have several hours to Gold Line or Red Line it somewhere or just go for a walkabout downtown.

Siel said...

A more costly but slightly more convenient option might be to call Prime Time or one of those other airport shuttles. I think a one-way ride costs about $20 -- so unfortunately, the whole thing would cost $40. A lot cheaper than a cab though --