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The Los Angeles Public Transit Lifestyle™: 10 Ways To Embrace It

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Guest Day Editor Fred Camino of MetroRiderLA will be joining LAist with a few posts throughout the day. Read his introductory interview here and check out his site.

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MetroRiderLA promotes what I call the "Los Angeles Public Transit Lifestyle" (it's not really trade marked, feel free to use those words in anyway you please). The idea behind the Public Transit Lifestyle goes something like this (from the website):

"The implication is simply that the citizens of Los Angeles must accustom themselves to public transit as a lifestyle in order to break free of the “car culture” that supposedly exists and flourishes in the city. Once we view public transit as a way of life that connects us as an urban community we can free ourselves of the shackle of the automoblie and all the negative baggage that it carries."

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Blah blah, it's a buncha hot air, but you get the idea. It's all about building a culture based around public transit in Los Angeles so that everyone gets excited about using it and taking part in the culture.

What I present to you now is 10 easy ways to join the Los Angeles Public Transit Lifestyle™:

Dump Your Car. This is the single most powerful statement you can make about wanting to join the transit culture. By ridding yourself of the car right from the get go, you leave yourself with no other option but to take part in the lifestyle. It's like going to the beach: you can either tip toe into the water, stopping every five minutes to let your body adjust to the cold water, and running back to shore once a wave splashes your private part area, or you can just dive in and start having fun right away.

Move To A Transit Hub. LA's got 'em now, and they're going to be where the future of LA takes place, so get in on it before everyone else does. Places like Hollywood, Downtown, and Long Beach are experiencing mind boggling growth and densification. Housing, jobs, recreation, and thus communities are forming in places long considered "no mans land". And this is all thanks in no small part to the rapid transit options that serve these areas. Just take a ride along one of our light-rail or subway lines, you'll notice development and growth at every stop. If you can find a place to live within a half-mile (a 10-minute walk) from one of the stations, you're golden.

Get A Monthly Pass. These puppies are quite literally your ticket to the Public Transit Lifestyle. Ringing in at $62, a Metro Monthly Pass will give you unlimted access to every bus, subway, and light-rail train in the Metro system (plus access to LADOT DASH system). What that means is no more fumbling around for exact change, no more worrying about having lost your ticket stub, and no more feeding dollars into the ticket machine as you hear the train arrive. You just carry it around in your wallet or purse, and flash it when the time comes. For an extra $8 a month you can upgrade to the EZ Transit Pass which gives you unlimited access to every carrier in the region (like Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and Pasadena ARTS). It's so sweet and costs just a fraction of what people spend on their cars every month. You can get these at any Ralphs, check cashing place, Union Station, online, or at any of the 650 other retail locations in the city.

More after the jump...

Get On A Bus. Sure the trains are nice and comfy and don't remind you of elementary school, but it's time you realize that bus isn't all bad, and for many trips it can be more convenient than the trains. For example, Downtown Los Angeles is well served by many of the city's rail lines, but often it's easier and faster just to hop on a bus even if the destinations are the same. You have to open up to the idea of riding a city bus before you consider yourself part of the transit culture.

Take A Friend. Next time you go out, invite a friend along with you. By them a day pass as a friendly gesture and show them how easy it is to a live a public transit lifestyle. It's quite likely that they'll be blown away and envious and will probably say something along the lines of, "I hate driving, I wish I could do this." That's when you reveal to them that you used to think the same way, and that anyone can do it.

Add Transit Access To Your Invites, E-Vites, Bulletin Posts, Etc
. When you're throwing a shin-dig, or planning to meet up at a bar, or whatever, make sure to research and include the nearest transit lines in your invitation. Just having that information there will pique the interests of your friends who haven't joined the lifestyle and will be priceless information for your friends who have.

Read The Transit Blogs, Get Involved. There's a growing number of blogs and websites dedicated to public transit in Los Angeles. Check this list of links at MetroRiderLA for a fairly exhaustive list. Must-visit sites include: Los Angeles Transportation Headlines, LA Times Bottleneck Blog, and of course MetroRiderLA. Many of these sites allow for comments and encourage discussion, as well as list times and dates for transit related meetings and functions.

Spread The Gospel At Work. People always whine about their commutes at work. Feel free to gloat about yours. Help coworkers find out the easiest transit route from their home to work. Talk to your boss about adding Metro Passes to your benefit plan.

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Explore. The Public Transit Lifestyle offers the resident the chance to see their city an a whole new way. On the weekends take a bus or train to someplace you've never been. Make a day out if it and take the kids. Since you're not on tight schedule you can afford to make some transfers, you can get a little lost, you may just find yourself in a great part of the city you've never seen before. Metro's system goes to the far reaches of the county, see where you end up.

When Guest Come Into Town, Make Sure They Go Metro
. Spare your parents the chance the learn the LA freeway system, buy them a Day Pass and they'll have access to some of the best tourist attractions the city has to offer. Plus they'll see how the new generation of Angelenos get around, and tell their friends back home, "Did you know LA has a subway?!?" Suddenly our fair city starts to look a little better in the eyes of the often disdainful outsiders.

Photo by Fred Camino via Flickr.