Travelin’ Local’s Metro Monday – “Fast. Frequent. Fabulous.”

May 04, 2009 by Lisa Newton

“Fast. Frequent. Fabulous.”

I’ll be featuring a new weekly column section on Travelin’ Local, called Metro Monday.

Every Monday, after I select the destination for my Travelin’ Local story, I’ll take the specific Metro ride to and from my destination. As part of the story, I’ll share with you my experiences on that particular bus ride, and telling you the best times and places to ride, where it goes, what to see en route, and how the ride was–the good, bad, and ugly.

Los Angeles is known, and for good reason, as the car capital of the world. Ignominiously, it’s host to 6 of the top 20 worst bottleneck intersections in the USA.

However, it isn’t known for its people-friendly Metropolitan Transit System. The purpose and goal of these weekly stories–using the Metro as the backdrop–is to educate the public’s perception and notion that you can have fun here without a car, and for visitors, tourists, and locals, plus you’ll have a much easier time getting around. And you can’t beat the bargain, for only $5.00, you can purchase an unlimited bus pass to ride any metro bus or rail throughout the county for the entire day.

“According to the latest Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) data, more Americans are traveling more miles by bus, and those numbers have been steadily increasing in recent years. And several months ago, the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University in Chicago released a policy study that found scheduled bus service—which had been declining for more than four decades—had fallen by 10.2% between 2002 and 2006. However, it then rose by 8.1% in 2007 and again by 9.8% in 2008. Evidence suggests such growth is continuing.” Source: USAToday

But there’s important work yet to do. As if taking public transportation wasn’t economical, affordable, timely, and an important issue on a national basis, on a household basis, the argument and case for a Metro Monday becomes even stronger due to the recent increase in federal funding for public transportation in the amount of 12 billion dollars, to reduce the reliance on automobiles and carbon emissions.

The Trip

Today my Metro bus route was the 534 Express. It starts at the corner of Fairfax Ave. and Washington Blvd in Culver City, and then makes its way to Santa Monica via the 10, and ends in Malibu.

Planning my trip, I first looked the route up on I printed off the time table for the route, which referenced 2nd and Broadway in Santa Monica as one of the drop-offs. But I was wrong, or maybe because the timetable used that street for reference, that might have caused the brief confusion. But after walking around a little, I discovered that the Metro stop was on Ocean Ave. where it intersects with Broadway.

After I boarded, the bus ride was great, riding the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) all the way to Malibu. The sky was sunny, the ocean was aquatint, and I could smell the salt air. I couldn’t wait until I got to the beach.

Which didn’t take long because several of the stops were literally on the highway, so the bus didn’t slow nor did the traffic either.

The beach views were mesmerizing so I got off the bus at Sunset and PCH to take some pictures. I knew, based on the timetable that the buses ran at about 30 minute intervals, so I had plenty of time to walk across the street and shoot.

Surfin' is done for the day

The corner of Sunset and Pacific Coast Highway has a consistent beach break and this section of the beach is always popular with the surfers.

Dennis and Suki

As I was taking pictures, I couldn’t help notice this man, who after finishing a surf session, was tying his surfboard to the top of his camper. Naturally, I asked him if he would mind if I took his picture.

He enthusiastically responded in the affirmative but with one caveat: He wanted me to take his picture with his own camera. Accompanying Dennis was his trusty dog, Suki.

Dennis is also known as “Professor Sprouts.” He’s a world traveler, a seasoned Hawaiian surfer and author who’s currently writing a book and creating a video about growing organic food for pennies a day in your car, your RV or backpack. He actually lives in Colorado, but travels to LA to sell his jewelry. He loves LA, where he’s never at a loss for something to do.

After 20 minutes of talking and taking pictures here, I headed back to the bus stop and continued my trip north to Malibu. As soon as the bus route turned away from the beach, I departed.

I was now at Malibu Lagoon State Park, which will be a blog post in a few days, but I thought I’d give you a small preview.

Malibu Lagoon State Park

After spending a couple of hours on the beach, I walked to the nearest bus stop and waited. In short order, the bus came as planned and expected, and along and off I went back to Santa Monica.

Taking the Metro bus around Los Angeles and to Malibu is fun, green, relaxing, and inexpensive.

Metro Monday is for everybody

The main mission of Travelin’ Local is to visit all those places we love locally, and want to learn more about. Therefore Metro Monday will become a useful resource for people who live here or visit.

They’ll be able to use it as both their guide to being more green and to visit all those great places that Travelin’ Local is known for.

How about you? Do you use public transportation? How about riding on the train?

For me, it’s a great alternative to the car while Travelin’ Local and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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6 Responses to “Travelin’ Local’s Metro Monday – “Fast. Frequent. Fabulous.””

  1. Kevin says:

    What a great idea! This first trip sounds like the perfect way to spend a day without spending much money and driving a car. Beaches and lagoons, can’t get better than that.

    Looking forward to the updates and future trips.

    Kevin’s last blog post..Cowichan Valley Flowers


  2. David says:

    I think that your idea for Metro Monday is beneficial in more ways than one. It advocates public transit, the various arrival and departure points and times for the places and things you frequent, it promotes less driving, and you pave the way for both tourist and locals to use it with less trepidation.


    BTW, I can’t wait for your Malibu Lagoon story!


  3. LisaNewton says:

    @ Kevin Your comment brought a smile to my face. Thanks for that. Although the Metro has its issues, I really do like riding it. It’s much more relaxing than driving, especially here in LA. I’m looking forward to my future trips, too……..:)

    @ David Thank you. I’m planning on adding a mapping feature to my Metro Monday posts. I think it will add value to the rider.


  4. Diane C. says:

    I love the idea of using public transportation! My mother didn’t drive, so as a child I rode buses to swimming lessons, shopping, museums, and the beach. She commuted to her downtown LA job by bus. At the moment I live in the “boonies” with no sidewalks or bus stops, but the transportation department is in the process of widening the roads up to this area to accommodate buses.

    Diane C.’s last blog post..Cactus Monday – Crested Saguaros


  5. The Metro, LADWP, and Alternative Fuel | Travelin' Local says:

    [...] today’s Metro Monday article, I’ll start at the ending of my last trip I started last week, via the “534 [...]

  6. Malibu Lagoon the Riviera of California | Travelin' Local says:

    [...] my recent bus ride to Malibu, my first stop was at the Malibu Lagoon State Beach, a 13 acre shallow water embayment occurring at [...]

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