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How to Best Get Around Los Angeles

LA Airport and Other Transportation

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Metro Blue Line Train at the 7th Street

Metro Blue Line Train at the 7th Street Station in Los Angeles, CA

Photo © 2005 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com
Public Transportation
You can get just about anywhere in Los Angeles on public transportation, but the system is rather unwieldy and can take longer than sitting in LA traffic. But if you have more time than money, the $5 day pass will get you all around LA on the 5 Metro lines and two bus systems. There are additional fees for transferring to the other 20 local bus and transit companies that serve the Greater LA area. Tip: Don't try to take the Metro all the way from LAX to Hollywood. Take the Union Station FlyAway bus (see below) to Union Station and catch the Metro Red Line to Hollywood from there.
Read about How to Ride the LA Metro.

Hotel Shuttles
Hotels near the airports offer courtesy shuttles to transport guests from the airport to the hotel. Many hotels have regularly scheduled shuttles to local tourist attractions and beaches. There may be a fee. Some high-end hotels offer complimentary outgoing limousine service to destinations within two or three miles.

Shared Ride Services
Several companies offer door-to-door shared ride services to and from the airport to your specific destination. SuperShuttle and Prime Time Shuttle are two of the biggest companies, and Shuttle2LAX is a flat rate consolidator of shuttle providers. Discounts are often available if you book online.

Airport FlyAway Buses
The Union Station FlyAway is a bus that runs every half hour between LAX and Union Station, L.A.'s Downtown rail travel and Metro hub. For $5-$6, the buses, built to accommodate passengers with luggage can make the trip in about 45 minutes during rush hour, faster than any other available options. The Van Nuys FlyAway provides service between LAX and the FlyAway Bus Station in Van Nuys. Another FlyAway Bus provides service between LAX and UCLA in Westwood. More on LAX FlyAway Service.

Taxis
There are nine taxi companies serving the City of Los Angeles, with additional companies serving other Los Angeles County and Orange County cities. Taxis with the official City of Los Angeles Taxicab Seal are insured, are regularly inspected and have trained drivers. All licensed taxis have meters, but may offer a flat rate for trips from LAX to Downtown LA. There is a surcharge for taxis originating at LAX. Click here for current taxi fares in the City of Los Angeles. There are taxi stands at a few spots in Hollywood and near other major attractions, and you can now find cruising taxis in Hollywood & Downtown, but not in too many other parts of town. Ask hotel, restaurant or nightclub staff for assistance in calling a cab before leaving the premises.

Rental Car
Most major car rental companies have outlets at LAX and the other area airports. It’s most efficient to make your car rental reservations in advance, either online or by phone. The car rental lots at LAX are off-site. Shuttles pick up in front of all terminals under the designated signs. Courtesy phones are available at the arrival terminals to call for pick up. Rental car offices are also located at many of the larger hotels.
Search for Car Rentals in Los Angeles

Driving in LA
LA does have more than its share of traffic congestion from too many cars on the road, but it is much easier to navigate than many other large cities. Freeways and streets are usually well marked and the majority of drivers are well mannered. If you use your turn signals, someone within 4 or 5 cars will generally let you change lanes, even in bumper to bumper traffic. Drivers are much less aggressive than New York or Boston and horns are used sparingly. Due to a shortage of left turn lanes, especially in Hollywood, watch out for 5 cars turning left in intersections after the light turns red. Traffic reports are broadcast every six to ten minutes on AM Radio 1640 and 980. For more tips for surviving LA traffic, check out my guide to Driving in Los Angeles. If you have internet access, you can also check real time Los Angeles Traffic Maps.

Maps
A good map is a necessity for getting around LA. There are many Online Maps that can give you great destination to destination maps and directions. There are plenty of single-sheet, folded maps available. The better ones are specific to the section of town. If all of LA is on one map, there will not be enough detail to really navigate LA surface streets. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in LA or need to drive to a lot of more obscure destinations, the heavy Thomas Guide for Los Angeles and Orange Counties breaks the area into over 100 indexed pages.

GPS navigators and mobile phones with GPS mapping are huge time savers in LA traffic and more efficient that paper maps, but are not always 100% accurate.

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