Saturday, July 12, 2008

LAX Transit Center

One of the faults at the LAX Transit Center, though not the only one, is the lack of posted route maps for the buses. As a longtime bus rider in the Westside, I am familiar with most of the lines in the region which use the center. To prove it, I carry a collection of bus time tables at least three inched tall.

However, if I was someone who is just starting to ride transit, or worse, a traveler to the city just off a jet at LAX who thinks that the second largest city in the United States would have a comprehensive mass transit system, I would be lost.

The bays at LAX Transit Center are clearly marked for the various bus companies and their routes with bus numbers. But there is scant information beyond that. Except for the Culver City No. 6, there are no maps for the routes. The No. 6 has the route map and times on a rotating cylinder on a pole next to the bus bay for easy access and readability. This is of tremendous benefit to the bus rider.

However, for the Metro Buses there is nothing. This leaves the bus rider at a great disadvantage. For instance, the Metro 439, with a very circuitous route, will take the rider to and through downtown Los Angeles and on the Union Station to catch Metrolink or Amtrak Trains if necessary. Or the person may just want to explore downtown. But for someone just off a plane with a vague idea of this city and where they want to go, they would have little information on how to proceed at what is called a Transit Center for one of busiest airports in the world.

The Metro 232 from the LAX Transit Center heads south through the Southbay Cities of Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach and then on to Long Beach. But there is no map to show this.

The Santa Monica No. 3, regular and Rapid, travel through Westchester, onto to Marina del Rey, Venice and then Santa Monica. There doesn’t seem to be any map posted at LAX Transit Center for these buses, nor specific hours of operation for the Rapid 3 which only runs at the morning and evening rush hours. The Rapid 3 saves time, but without specific posted times at a transit center, the uninitiated would not know that.

A number of buses continue to the Green Line, but except for the No. 6, there is little if not information stating this at LAX Transit Center. While a bus marquis does state its destination, such as the Green Line Aviation Station, to know this beforehand assists the rider in helping them find the right bus. Otherwise the rider understandable fumbles around, then asks the driver where the bus is headed. This distracts the the driver and makes the stop longer than necessary. This adds time to the bus schedule, and could be avoided with maps of the routes posted next to the bus bays.

At the bus bays, the signs for the buses and their number are in tall, rectangular metal frames which stand over six feet high. The signs take up room only at the top, leaving empty space underneath and between the frames. This space would be ideal for holding the route maps for the respective buses to help the rider figure out the routes. While there are kiosks at the center of the long waiting area, they don’t post maps of routes, and anyway this is not the ideal place for the maps.

The ideal place is at the specific bays for the buses. When waiting for a bus, the rider must stand next to the bus bay for the respective bus they want. Walking away to read a kiosk creates the chance of missing the bus.

For someone new to transit riding or new to the city, the routes posted next to the bus bays will give critically needed information.

This is a small feature to add to the LAX Transit Center which is easily remedied, and the benefits to the rider is very great.



Sez said...

Wow! So glad I came across your blogpost when I googled the LAX Transit Center.

My partner and I will be those of the uninitiated kind, and were hoping to simply bus back and forth during our 14 hour transit for a few hours in Marina Del Ray or downtown. So your blogpost, with its description of the routes, will be most handy.

Thank you!!

Sara Welsh said...

My friends and I are thinking about taking a trip to L.A., and we have had no idea how we were going to get around to places. We were thinking about getting so kind of transportation for LAX to our hotel, and then we were lost from there. From what you've said, though, it sounds like it's really easy to navigate your way around, if you get to know the transit schedule. We'll have to research that before we head out to L.A. in a few months.

Sara Welsh |