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Kristin Eberhard’s Blog

A Public Transit Adventure in LA: getting from Santa Monica to Studio City

Kristin Eberhard

Posted January 8, 2013

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Recently a colleague was visiting from New York and wanted to get from her Santa Monica hotel to dinner with a friend in Studio City without renting a car or paying for a cab.  Her journey is detailed below. There are a few important policy conclusions to be drawn from her adventure:

  • It's great when transfers are timed (as with Big Blue Bus R20 to the Expo Line), but it makes the journey longer and more difficult when they aren't (as with Expo Line to Red Line, which really should be timed since Expo ends at 7th and Fig, and you should be able to just walk across the platform and hop on a red line that is waiting for you).
  • Paying multiple times during the same one-way trip is not only annoying, it is also bad policy to put an extra burden on transferring because it makes it harder to have a connected network. (Transit guru Jarrett Walker explains here how a connected network can create more mobility and, counterintuitively, make it so that by switching vehicles you can get to your destination faster than if you had a direct route). 
  • Charging for transfers is bad policy, but forcing you to walk upstairs to tap your TAP (LA's transit smart card) and then back down to get on your connecting train is ridiculous. (Streetsblog has delved into just how hard it can be to properly tap your TAP). Metro could eliminate cost and hassle for physically installing TAP machines at different places by instead revising their transfer policy to allow any tap to last for a certain amount of time (maybe 90 minutes) instead of requiring a new tap for each leg of the journey. 

(click the forward arrow to go through the prezi)

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Jessica LassJan 10 2013 02:51 PM

Thanks for your post Kristin. I recently had a similar experience of taking the BBB downtown, using Metro to get around downtown and Hollywood, then taking BBB again twice to get home. It all unfortunately involved multiple fares that a simple day pass accessible on all platforms would have eliminated. It was frustrating to make sure I had accurate fare at all stops on top of buying a TAP card and paying the base fare.

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