Los Angeles Transportation Tips by GracesTrips Top 5 Page for this destination
Los Angeles Transportation: 294 reviews and 272 photos
Union Station is the main hub for all trains leading into and out of Los Angeles. The Goldline Metrolink also runs through here. It was built in 1939 and has retained it's beautiful design. Something we noticed today that I didn't know was possible was a party or reception was being held a wing of the train station and was guarded off from visitors. For train schedules visit the Amtrak website. For Metrolink schedules, visit the Metrolink website.
Union Station is located at 800 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Telephone # 800.872.7245
Most people have smart phones these days and Google Maps or Waze can provide current traffic congestion. But, if you don't have a smart phone, you can see live feed of traffic in California by going to the website below. Scroll down until you see what area and freeways you are interested in.
Always wear your seat belt otherwise you will receive a ticket. If your passengers are under 18 years of age or do not have a valid California driver's license and they are not wearing their seat belt, you will receive a ticket for each one of them as well.
Beginning July 1, 2008, it is against the law for the driver of the vehicle to hold and use a cell phone while driving. Any "hands free" device is okay. Anyone 18 years or under cannot be on a cell phone while driving - even the hands free device is illegal.
Smoking in a vehicle when a minor (child 18 years or younger) is present is against the law.
When a school bus is stopped with red flashing lights on, you must stop as well. Children may be exiting or getting on around the bus at that time.
In California, you can make a right hand turn on a red light as long as you have come to a complete stop first and make sure it is clear and safe to make the right turn. UNLESS, it is posted otherwise - NO TURN ON RED.
You can make a U-turn in any intersection UNLESS a NO U-TURN sign is posted.
Do not cross double yellow lines even if you need to turn left from a driveway.
There is no such thing as a "California Stop". That's a stop that you slow down but not really stop the car and look to see if it is safe to go. You will get a ticket.
Pay attention to your parking meters. Most cities stay on top of these meters running out. If the meter is broken, you can park there and you won't get a ticket. I always make sure to put a note on my windshield that the meter is broken or money won't go into the meter.
In parts of LA, when parking on a slope or hill, there may be a sign posted that your wheels must be turned into the curb. If you do not do this, you will get a ticket.
When driving through small towns outside of LA, pay attention to your speed! It's easy to drive 35-45 miles per hour though these small towns because there is no traffic. If the speed limit is posted 25 miles per hour - you better be driving 25 miles per hour! The police are waiting on the side streets to give you a ticket.
For tourists who want to drive anywhere in the United States, see this website for more info:
Type: Car/Motor Home
LAX is one of the busiest airports in the world. Every possible international flight can be taken from LAX. Because so many flights are scheduled through LAX, you can book some fairly reasonable air fare to the most popular destinations. Basic problems with flying out of LAX is flight delays. Driving into LAX is not too complicated. The lower level is for arrivals and the upper level is for departures. Curb side parking is not allowed - you will get a ticket. It is strickly for loading and unloading, then you can park. Do NOT double park (even for loading or unloading) - you will get a ticket. Other airports you can take flights out of that are in the SoCal area are Burbank, Ontario and John Wayne airports. LAX is easily accessible from the 105 Freeway.
Our metro system is not quite up to par with other systems like in Paris or Athens. And, it's much more expensive. For those who come to visit Los Angeles and do not want to drive, I understand that you may not have a choice. Our bus system is pretty good but, OMG, the bus stops at every single block at times and it will take you a while to get to your destination. I think the train is much quicker.
See link on Metro system map for LA
How to ride guide:
Getting around Los Angeles is not that easy. Our metro system is limited and doesn't get you to every reasonable destination in Los Angeles. Some parts of town by Metro is possible but most tourists who do not want to rent a car will have to ride the bus.
Google maps is great. You can enter your starting location and ending destination and it will give you a route by car. Above the routes is 4 icons, a car, a bus, a person walking and a bicycle. Choose the bus icon which represents public transportation and it will give you the route and bus locations and numbers on how to go. It's a great tool where ever you are, not just in Los Angeles.
More cost effective than using a taxi is using the airport shuttle. There are several but the two main shuttles servicing LAX is Super Shuttle and Prime Time. They are extra large vans that will carry 2-8 passengers and bring you to the airport or take you to a doorstep. So, the stops will vary depending on the number of passengers. You can see what the cost is in advance and you make your reservations on line. Make sure to print out your confirmation. They do not always have their information updated.
Over the years I have found this to be an inconvenience. I have found a better service since using these types of shuttles. It is called RapidShuttle.
In the past, I have taken an airport shuttles (ie. Prime Time, Super Shuttle) to and from LAX. I really dislike this mode of transportation. The drivers are terrible, they pick up or drop off other passengers along the way and it makes for an extremely, long commute (ugh!). I'm done with these shuttles even though the pricing is good.
Now, I use a car (limo) service to take us to the airport and pick us up. We have a direct route and I don't stress about how much time it's taking. For 2 people and luggage 45 miles one way with gratuity (tip) and tax is $105.00. The shuttle would have been $60. It's very well worth it! Some are quite a bit more expensive than this one I've been using. So, far I've been quite pleased. There is nothing worse than starting your vacation or ending your vacation being frustrated.
Online booking is cheaper than calling on the telephone.
Most people come to Los Angeles through LAX. And, unfortunately, our public transportation system is not that great. The best alternative to getting around is renting a car. Please be aware that here and any state in the US, the car rental daily charge is significantly more expensive if you do not return the rental to the same location you rented from. This charge is applicable for each day you rent no matter where you are going.
So, if you plan to rent a car in LA and want to hang out for 3-4 days before driving down to San Diego or up to San Francisco and dropping the car off, I suggest making two separate reservations. One for just staying in LA and return it to the same rental office. And, second reservation at a different rental office to drive to your next destination where you will be dropping off your car. If you plan to stay in the next town for 3-4 days, I suggest a third reservation and rent the car for the same location return for those days.
The expense is almost double and in some cases even more than double during holiday weekends.
Type: Car/Motor Home
Over the years of traveling, we had used Super Shuttle or Prime Time to get to the airport and back. The annoying aspect of these services if that there are other passengers that need to be picked up or dropped off. This makes our trip to and from the airport much longer than it needs to be (from where we live). I found a great service called BLimos which has door to door car service. I really, really like this but it costs a bit more.
Rapid Shuttle has a van and car service. The van service has direct route to and from the airport and is quite reasonable (half the cost of BLimos). I look forward to using this on my next trip in November 2014 and will update this tip with my experience.
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