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Getting Around Town

While most people believe that you need a car to get around Los Angeles, that is not necessarily the truth.  Operating a car in Los Angeles is getting more and more expensive and inconvenient mainly because of the issue of parking which in some areas can be quite expensive.  There are some neighborhoods that are easier to get to by car including Los Feliz, Silverlake, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Brentwood however Metro does offer bus service to these neighborhoods so there are always options.

If you do decide to rent a car, keep in mind that parking can be a challenge.  City parking meters vary in cost depending on their location.  Costs can range anywhere from $1 per hour to $4 per hour to park at a meter.   If you go overtime a ticket for the violation can be $80, or more.  Its best to avoid meter parking and go for all day parking in one of the city owned parking structures or a privately owned parking lot.  A service called Best Parking offers comprehensive information on parking lots in Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles as well as other areas of the city tourists might visit.  The service lists rates for both public and private lots which will be helpful if you are developing a budget for your visit.

Metro Rail & Metro Bus

Los Angeles has a growing Metro system that goes many places including Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Pasadena, Culver City, Universal Studios … and soon to Santa Monica Beach! You can get more information about Metro Bus and Metro Rail by going to the Metro website. Using Metro is best when travelling from one neighborhood to another – as an example, travelling from Downtown LA to Hollywood. Metro' Day Pass is a great option for tourist because it offers unlimited rides on both Metro Rail and Metro Bus for an entire day for only $5. An even better value is Metro’s Weekly Pass which is only $20 (that’s only $3 a day)! Most Metro Bus lines operate 24 hours a day while Metro Rail has more limited hours and operates Sunday through Thursday from approximately 5:00am until midnight. On Fridays and Saturdays Metro Rail has extended hours to 2:00am. Metro has a new system called the TAP card. You will be required to purchase a TAP card for $1 and then you will be required to add value to that card. The reusable and refillable TAP cards can be purchased in any Metro Rail station and value can also be added to the cards at kiosks in the stations. Kiosks take cash as well as credit and debit cards. You can also buy TAP cards on Metro Bus but cash is required.  

DASH Bus

While you are in a neighborhood, such as Hollywood, there is an inexpensive option for getting around without having to walk long distances. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) offers a “circulator” service called Dash bus. A ride on the Dash is a bargain at only $0.50. Dash buses only circulate within a neighborhood and do not go outside of that neighborhood. Depending on the neighborhood, Dash buses can be helpful on connecting you to the nearest Metro Rail station if you are not close to one. Follow this link to the Dash bus website for information in routes that include maps and time tables. One caveat about Dash bus is that most operate on limited hours with some ending daily service at 6:00pm.

 

Ride Sharing

Ride sharing services are the most popular form of transit in Los Angeles outside of private cars. The two services people use in Los Angeles are Uber and Lyft. People have differing opinions on which service is better. Parking around the city ranges between $10/day and $20/day (or more) depending on many criteria including location, day of week, time of day and if there is high demand for parking due to an event. When considering the cost of fuel, parking and lack of experience driving the area, ride share services like Uber or Lyft may actually be a more economical solution for you and your family. Keep in mind that during rush hour or during major events (such as a sports match or concert) Uber or Lyft may have "surge pricing" meaning that demand is high and the supply of cars can't meet demand - so the cost of the service increases.