New Yorkers, don’t laugh. San Franciscans, no snickering. Atlantans, give us some pity. We Angelinos don’t know what to do with our Metro line. Is it a subway? Is it a train? CORN-fusing to natives addicted to our cars.
The time had come to embrace it. If you’re a regular of Worth The Whisk, you know that we sold our home in Westwood as part of our downsize adventure. We then moved 10 miles south to a leased condo in Playa Vista to see if we liked the lifestyle here. The hard part behind us, time to explore.
Next door is Culver City, where the newest Metro line ends – Expo (called that because it follows Exposition Boulevard.) This portion is above ground, “train.” When it gets into downtown and starts going under the buildings, “subway.” But, we Angelinos call it everything – subway, train, metro, expo. (And, our bus system is also Metro, which adds to the confusion when researching how to actually travel on any part of it.)
WARNING, WARNING – attempting to use the Metro website to learn anything about this system is pretty futile. It is overly hyperlinked to excessive yet useless information. See for yourself. (e.g., their map online shows the Culver City station “future.” I added the Now Open here, for you, dear readers.)
Let me simplify for you (step by step instructions below)…
Expo is VERY good news for Trojan Larry — $3 round trip, park free in the roomy Culver City lot and take directly to the Coliseum. Or Galen Center. Or Staples Center. No fear of being boxed into a parking space. No stress racing out before a tidal wave of humanity getting into their cars.
So, what’s in it for Patti? Well, when I received my press badge to the Los Angeles Times Travel Show, it was a perfect opp to get to the convention center efficiently and cheaply, and so far, the Metro feels pretty safe.
So, Westsiders, here is what to do.
- Drive, walk or bike to the Culver City Metro parking lot (CLICK HERE) where Culver Blvd. meets Venice Blvd. It’s also flanked by National Blvd. Surfas Restaurant Supply is right there. Invisible signage from the street, but if you look up, you see the elevated train.
- Park. Free. You can take a bike onto the train.
- Go to the pay machine first. You don’t have to do this every time, but you need a TAP card with money on it to pay your fare.
- Cash or credit card, buy a TAP card ($1, keep the refillable card) and put maybe $6.00 onto the card.
- A one-way fare, no transfers, is $1.50.
- You are legally “required” to TAP this post flanking the stairs to pay the fare. People ignore it VERY often and ride for free. However, on a recent trip, two sheriffs at the top of the stairs were checking TAP cards of every exiting rider. Seriously, folks, pay your fee.
- Go to the second floor platform via stairs or elevator to the waiting train. It only goes ONE WAY from Culver City, this is the end of the line.
- Every 12 to 15 minutes, the next train leaves.
- If you get motion sick, walk inside to the end of the train and find seats facing the direction you want.
- There are signs above your head that show you the stops, plus they announce each one. For the Convention Center, get off at Pico.
- Screw your head on straight and don’t just walk across any train tracks. Yes, those flashing red lights and clanging bells mean A TRAIN IS COMING. Don’t try to beat it, stupid.
- When ready to come back home, go to the same platform but READ THE TRAIN DESTINATIONS on the front of the train. Pick Expo Culver City. Other trains use the same track.
- I am not going to post train times because, my guess is, they change during seasons and different routes. For that, yes you have to drudge through the website.
Once you have this under your belt, or maybe even your first try, you can go lots of fun places. So far, we’ve taken the Metro from Culver City into Hollywood (exit at 7th and change to the Hollywood line) for the Pantages. You walk right out of the Metro station and it is RIGHT THERE.
We also took it to a Lakers game at Staples Center. And, met up with friends at the California Club downtown for a glam dinner.
In the summer, while it will be a hefty hike, I want to take it to the Hollywood Bowl, exit at the Kodak theater and walk up Highland to the Bowl. We used to take the Westwood Park & Ride bus, which was convenient but a mad, somewhat stressful dash. There is no Flyaway option closer to Playa Vista than Westwood, might as well try the Metro. We are good walkers, at least once.
Another destination is Union Station. Go for Chinese food in China Town. Or Philips French Dip sandwiches across the street. Or Mexican food at Olvera Street. And, of course, catch trains to further exciting destinations – San Diego, San Francisco, Portland.
And, it would be fun to take the Metro to Pasadena, will see if I can get Larry to give that a try.