Living in Los Angeles?
The Los Angeles Transport Guide
Your International Connection: Los Angeles’ Airports
The city of Los Angeles is a major transportation hub for the region and the whole country. Los Angeles World Airports is a system of three airports owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), centrally located between Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach, is the biggest of the three and handles most international flights. It is well connected to the city center by light rail and bus lines. A free shuttle service takes passengers from the airport to the Metro Green Line Aviation Station (G shuttle) or to the Metro Bus Center (C shuttle).
Additionally, LAX FlyAway buses provide connections between the airport and Union Station, Westwood, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Long Beach, and Van Nuys. On the LAX FlyAway website, you can find information on fares and ticket sales. The other two Los Angeles World Airports are LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT), located 40 miles (64 km) east of Downtown L.A., and Van Nuys general aviation airport (VNY) in the San Fernando Valley.
How to Get Around without a Car
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation operates a range of services, transporting millions upon millions of passengers a year. Among the most popular services are DASH (Downtown Area Short Hop), which services 32 routes throughout the city; Commuter Express, which runs on 14 routes with very few stops to allow for a quick commute; and Cityride, a special dial-a-ride service for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. For most services, you can pay in cash or by using a so-called TAP card.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) provides public transportation for Los Angeles County. It operates the Metro Rail, a system consisting of six lines (including two subway lines) serving 80 stations across Greater Los Angeles. The Metro Rapid is a limited-stop regional express bus service, and Metrolink is a seven-line commuter rail service connecting the Southern Californian region. For fares and timetables, please consult the Metro website.
Even though the city invested a lot in public transportation over the last years, most people still depend on their car. L.A. is at work on other projects, too, so that the city’s traffic situation will hopefully improve in the coming years.
Do you want more details on the public transportation system in the United States? Then take a look at our guide article on public transportation in the US.
Traffic and Pollution: Driving in Los Angeles
A good indicator of the importance of motorized traffic for the inhabitants of Los Angeles is the more than 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of public roads in the county. The roads in inner L.A. regularly rank as the most congested in the whole country, and the average commute for people driving their car to work in Los Angeles County is around 30 minutes. In fact, in 2015 the average Los Angeles commuter was stuck in traffic for more than81 hours, which far exceeds the national average. Having said all this, though, you may find it hard to get by without a car if you live in one of L.A.’s more remote neighborhoods.
To get a handle on traffic, and the ensuing air pollution, the City of Los Angeles has started several green initiatives, such as the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program — to make neighborhoods safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and residents by calming down traffic — and the Clean Cities Coalition. The aim of the latter is to reduce the use of petroleum in public transportation. For instance, the city’s Commuter Express buses, which previously ran on diesel, now use compressed natural gas.
Also take a look at our guide article on driving in the USA to find out all about road rules, driving conditions, and more.
Other Possibilities to Get around the City
If you won’t need a car on a daily basis, taxis are a good alternative. Nine cab companies operate in Los Angeles, all regulated by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. For more information on fares and contact details, please visit the City of Los Angeles Taxi Services website.
Cycling and walking may not be the most popular means of getting from A to B in Los Angeles. However, the city has invested a lot in recent years to promote bicycle use, adding more and more bike lanes each year. Still, cycling is probably most common in the beach communities, where it also serves recreational purposes.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.