Guy gets on the MTA...
May 10, 2011 3:03 AM   Subscribe

General tips for riding the LA MTA Rail? (Red Line in particular, if you'd like.)

Say, things along the lines of "don't ever hang around xx stop, ever," or "the xx food at xx stop is highly underrated."

Much appreciated!
posted by the NATURAL to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: People use the north end of the courtyard near the handicap ramp above the Westlake/McArthur Park stop as a public restroom. Avoid that area at all costs. In the exact opposite direction is Langer's Deli, purportedly the purveyor of the best pastrami on Earth.

Downtown, some stations will unceremoniously dump you blocks from where you wanted to go if you don't carefully read the signs while exiting. Pershing Square is notorious for this, as is the 7th St./Financial District station. The latter, in particular, is a multi-level station serving perpendicular lines—don't wind up on the wrong side of the Blue Line there. Now that I think of it, the Vermont/Santa Monica stop has a long block between the entrances/exits too.

When boarding trains headed West from stations downtown, make sure you're not getting on a Purple Line train. You don't want to end up having to double-back way out at Wilshire/Western.

Lots of Red Line love from me. (W/McA P is my stop. =) I've gotten on/off at every stop except the last one out in the Valley. The Hollywood stations are my favorite; they're all individually themed and usually have kick-ass art on the walls/ceilings/etc.
posted by carsonb at 5:14 AM on May 10, 2011

Best answer: Also, if you weren't aware, the ticketing system is based on the honor system. I've seen it enforced strictly, and I've seen it where the police are guarding one end of the turnstiles, checking everyone who goes through that way, but allowing everyone choosing to use the other end of the turnstiles through without question. If you don't have a FastPass, make sure you get your ticket and keep it handy.

Probably there's a lot more to say, but I've got to hop on to go to work now, and there are several other vocal MeFites on the Red Line that can help fill in more info. (Paging klang, mandyman, holyrood, speicus, etc!)
posted by carsonb at 5:20 AM on May 10, 2011

Best answer: Metro has no transfers whatsoever throughout the system unless you buy an all-day pass. Your one-ride ticket is one line, one way. So, if you need to transfer onto another train line, you'll have to buy another $1.50 ticket at that station.

Grand Central Market is adjacent to the Pershing Square station, and it's the oldest open market in LA. The tacos at pretty much every stand are phenomenal, and huge for the price. City Hall is located off of Civic Center, and has a relatively unknown observation deck at the top of the tower that's usually open to the public. And requires 3 elevators to get to. Any Thai food around Hollywood/Western is recommended.
posted by hwyengr at 11:03 AM on May 10, 2011

Best answer: I know you're asking about rail specifically, but I want to share this about L.A.'s transport network as a whole. The entire system is interdependent anyway.

I think of "MTA" as the agency and "Metro" as the brand of its transportation system. People generally call the buses and trains "Metro," and that's the name you'll see on the vehicles.

Metro is Los Angeles County's public transportation system. It is separate from Metrolink, the regional commuter rail serving L.A. and surrounding counties. It is also separate from LADOT -- the transit agency of the City of Los Angeles. LADOT runs the commuter express buses and the little DASH shuttles that circle various neighborhoods. Then there are the local buses for the cities that aren't Los Angeles: Gardena, Torrance, Culver City, Santa Monica, Glendale, etc. If you're using Metro's Trip Planner regularly, you'll probably come across these lines as transfer points.

More rail-specific:

The Expo Line is due to open for business later this year! It will run along Exposition Blvd, stopping near USC and going all the way to Culver City. This rail line will be notable for actually bringing people to the far-west side. Currently, the only Metro rail line that goes that far west is the Green Line, down in the South Bay -- not helpful for people downtown or in the central parts of the city.

The Orange Line is not a rail line but a dedicated BRT busway (bus rapid transit). It's basically a train-like express bus that doesn't have to compete with traffic and is able to bypass most red lights. Currently it runs out to Woodland Hills, but an extension is under construction to carry it up to Chatsworth, making a vital connection between Metro and the Ventura-bound Metrolink/Amtrak trains.

I live on the Red Line, but my favorite is the Gold Line -- for its unbeatable views of the east side, especially around Mt. Washington. When I was unemployed, I would ride it just to gawk out the window. I recommend making an afternoon of it and going in the East L.A. direction for Mexican food.
posted by mirepoix at 1:07 AM on May 11, 2011

Best answer: Also, I would *not* recommend trying to get to LAX via Metro Rail (i.e., the Green Line and its transfer points) if you're near one of the Flyaway bus terminals.
posted by mirepoix at 1:16 AM on May 11, 2011

Response by poster: Great stuff, MeFites!

Trip completed, just wanted to add...
- I forgot to internalize carsonb's wisdom, and as a direct consequence my girlfriend and I spent a few minutes reenacting the computer scene from Zoolander with the Day Passes and the TAP turnstile. ("Do we tap it here? Why is there nowhere to slide this?") Honor system public transit is a hard thing to wrap your head around.
posted by the NATURAL at 3:03 AM on May 23, 2011

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