The Most Uncomfortable Bus in Los Angeles
I've been on some damn crowded, sardine-in-the can, packed-to-the-brim buses before; such as the 200 down Alvarado or the 704 down Sunset. Both exasperating, yet, nothing in comparison to the Pico-Union/Echo Park DASH on a Sunday afternoon.
"Can I ask, why are you taking pictures?" a woman asked me as I awkwardly moved my arm around in what must have looked like a modern dance as I tried to get an angle for a shot (you can see how great it turned out). I told her I wanted to show people how crazy this bus was. How, if it is a Sunday afternoon on a route that comes every 15-minutes for 17-hours straight, that a bus line can be so full? After all, a kid's face was smashed up against my chest every time we hit a bump, a man's armpit was in my face and a woman's head rested on my shoulder.
The inquisitive woman told me it is always like this on Sunday afternoons. How about during the week? No, nothing like a weekend apparently.
My goal was to get from the Westlake/MacArthur Park Red Line Subway Station to deep within Echo Park. The route is obviously popular, in demand and extremely useful. The frequent and consistent service of 15-minute headways from 5 a.m. to ten at night is close to genius. The desire to ride in something ready to burst at the seems is none at all.
DASH buses are old and clunky, making the scariest Metro bus look like NASA. On Metro, an automated voice tells you the next stop over the speakers (or the bus driver calls it out). On DASH, your lucky if you have any warning. On Metro, an arriving bus at a stop tells people on the sidewalk the end destination (e.g., Universal City or Union Station). On DASH, it says "northbound" or "southbound," confusing the hell out of the directionally impaired.
DASH is a great local connector and the Pico-Union/Echo Park line is in need of some parenting love from the City. City Councilmembers Garcetti, Reyes, Perry? This is your bus too.
It should be noted that the closer Echo Park came, the ridership dwindled allowing people to sit down.