Getting from OC to LAX on public transport
November 25, 2008 5:58 PM   Subscribe

Useful transport from Orange County to LAX?

I need to get from South OC to LAX. It's completely not a problem to be dropped off at a bus/train/etc stop, but I can't be driven to LAX.

It looks like one option is to take Amtrak over to Union station and then take the Flyaway bus to LAX. Do people have any experience with that? I know amtrak is great but potentially slow; I suspect the bus (that has to travel 20 miles through LA) may potentially be very slow and off-schedule. Also, is Union station and/or the bus particularly shady?

Any other useful options? There are some shuttle services for $50-60, but I''d prefer something a bit cheaper. Renting a car looks like an option too, but it seems pretty absurd ...
posted by bsdfish to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
I've done Union Station to Flyaway bus a few times and it's fine. Not incredibly prompt, but they do go on a schedule and it's fairly inexpensive. I'd leave extra time but not a TON. I've left LAX late at night and I didn't feel like it was particularly sketchy (I'm a short female, fwiw) going through Union Station. You'll have to make sure you know where the bus leaves from as it's not immediately obvious but not too hard to find.

This may be a stupid question, but can you get to Disneyland? There is an airport shuttle bus from Anaheim to LAX which is about $20 and very comfortable. I asked a similar question a while back which might have some good links and/or options for you.
posted by jessamyn at 6:27 PM on November 25, 2008

You can fly, you can take a car service, you can take a taxi, and all of these are rather expensive. I don't know why you need to make this trip, but it might be cheaper to change your ticket and fly directly into LAX or to fly out of John Wayne instead of trying to make this journey.
posted by caddis at 7:36 PM on November 25, 2008

Piggybacking on Jessamyn's, there is (or at least used to be) a $20 shuttle from SNA (John Wayne) to LAX as well, if you can get there.
posted by tdischino at 7:41 PM on November 25, 2008

When are you going and what town in OC are you leaving from?
posted by platinum at 8:25 PM on November 25, 2008

The ticket isn't even booked, but I have 2 options: fly out of LAX and have a nice and simple 3 hour flight, or fly out of SNA, have 2 layovers (SNA->SJC->LAX) and end up spending the whole day in transit. I'm trying to figure out whether the cost/effort of getting to LAX on my own beats the pain of flying out at 6:30AM just to spend the next 4 hours flying up and down the coast to end up 40 miles away.

I'm leaving from the Mission Viejo area. I suspect that the SNA->LAX shuttle (if I can find it ... google-fu is failing), or a door-to-airport shuttle may be the solution ...
posted by bsdfish at 9:54 PM on November 25, 2008

I live(d) in Lake Forest.

Don't bother with Amtrak unless you have to; take Metrolink - it's $9 for the full-fare weekday fare, less on weekends or if you're a youth/senior, and takes maybe fifteen minutes more, and if you're traveling on a weekday, you'll have much more frequent trains to choose from, especially at rush hour.

Both Amtrak and Metrolink trains have never taken me more than an hour and a bit to get to Union Station , and seem to take less time on the weekends. There are express Metrolink services from Irvine that only stop a few times, and the first train from OC leaves the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo station at 4:10am. The Flyaway bus (just $4!) isn't something I've used, but I have seen the buses at LAX and they do seem quite popular. YMMV.

The whole journey is slated to take two hours and fourteen minutes (not horribly long, then, and perhaps beating traffic on the 405 some days!) on this handy-dandy trip planner site:
posted by mdonley at 11:27 PM on November 25, 2008

Gotcha. I did find this shuttle service that costs about $35 for SNA to LAX I think.

Alternatively, maybe offer a local student $25 for a ride to the airport? They usually have the time and need the money!
posted by platinum at 11:31 PM on November 25, 2008

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