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How to Take the Bus to LAX

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We've tried various combinations of trains and automobiles to get to our plane flights, but one of the better options for the money for getting to Los Angeles International Airport is the city bus, if you can pack light.

The Metro web site's trip planner recognizes "LAX" as a destination, so all you have to do is type your address or the closest intersection in the starting point box, "LAX" in the destination box, and the site will give you a public transit route. It also gives you a time estimate, but this assumes that the buses run on time, which they do not. The Santa Monica, Culver City, and Torrance transit systems will also take you to the airport bus depot.

A full-day Metro pass costs $3, which is about $20 less than a shuttle service, and much less than a taxi. A drive to the airport that takes 50 minutes in a car driven by a friend recently took an hour and a half on the bus, which time is comparable to taking a shuttle service with a lot of stops. On the bus, though, you will have to haul your own bags and make a transfer or two, including an inevitable one to get to the actual airport.

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The first major thing to know is that none of these buses go directly to the airport, but to a bus depot where you catch an airport shuttle. The lines that go to the bus depot run approximately down Robertson Boulevard (separate north and south lines), Century Boulevard, Aviation Boulevard, Florence Avenue, and La Tijera Boulevard. If you don't live off one of these streets, you can probably catch a bus near you that will take you to one of them. That means climbing off one bus and onto another twice in most cases, which means it's imperative to have luggage that you can carry easily.

The buses are somewhat crowded, but they are air-conditioned, and reasonably safe, at least during the day, when it is most likely that all your friends will have to work and not be able to give you a ride, and at $3 or less a pop, they help you spend most of your travel money on the flight itself, not on getting there.