Another One Rides the Bus

14 Dec
Where exactly is this guy driving?


This past weekend, I deepened my newly formed LA roots and took another step in becoming a true Angeleno: I rode an LA Metro bus.

I had already ridden an LA Metro train a few weeks earlier when my husband and I went to see the Clippers game at the Staples Center (see “I Am Not Ashamed to Say I Like the Clippers”), but this was my first adventure on an LA Metro bus.

Actually, I haven’t had many bus or train exploits. I vaguely recall riding the T in Boston when I was very young, and I have ridden BART and Muni in SF a few times to go to concerts and such. I always found myself very disoriented at busy train stops, with what looks like thousands of people bustling about. Everyone always seems like they are on a mission, and a top secret one at that. There are no smiles. If you aren’t careful, someone will run you over with their briefcase or bicycle. It’s dangerous. Anytime I attempted to decipher bus stops and train routes to figure out how to get where I wanted while in the city, I was acutely conscious of what I was: a country bumpkin. I am aware that there was a bus system in Napa–the Vine–but I have never ridden it. Come to think of it, I don’t know anyone who has. I suppose I am very American in that I have (unintentionally) avoided public transportation in my life, preferring to take my own vehicle instead of squishing into a smelly bus with my fellow citizens when the opportunities (in my defense, they were few) presented themselves.

Update: My husband reminded me when he read this post moments ago that I have ridden the Max in Portland many times, and I will say that Portland’s public transportation system is excellent. However, whenever I have been on Max I have encountered many hobos, so they do get a few demerits for that.

Back to my LA Metro bus experience. My husband and I were going to spend the weekend out in Santa Barbara with a friend but were reluctant to take our car, a beautiful, but very ancient Honda. We decided we would take Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner by way of the Glendale Amtrak station to glorious Santa Barbara. However, we were also hesitant to leave the car at the Amtrak station for the weekend, which is why we decided to take the bus. We awoke bright and early at 5 a.m. (on a Saturday!) to walk up our excessively vertical hill to the bus stop for the 90 91 LA Metro bus. We were going to catch the 6:20 bus, and as we walked, we watched the sunrise. (Note: if you are ever up early enough to see sunrise, you are up too early. Go back to bed.)

To my pleasant surprise, the bus arrived exactly on time. Even more surprising was that there were people actually on the bus. I believe when we got on there were 9 other individuals making use of Los Angeles’ public transportation system, and more joined along the route. Sadly, the majority of them were elderly, and I assumed they were taking the bus to their job, since our country’s crap economy has prevented many people from retiring. I sincerely hope when I am of retirement age I am not stuck riding the bus to a weekend job, but we’ll see if things change. Thankfully I have a few years yet before I am genuinely “old” so the government has plenty of time to fix things.

I was also impressed with the cleanliness of the bus. Perhaps because the LA area seems permanently dirty because of the smog, I assume everything is filthy, but the bus shockingly wasn’t. The seats were nicely cushioned and none had their padding ripped out or torn. I also didn’t notice any graffiti, which means the LA Metro may deserve a medal.

According to my husband, whenever he’s ridden an LA Metro bus, the TV at the front has a trivia game, and you have an opportunity to text in your answers to win prizes. I was really disappointed that the TV was off during our trip and I didn’t have a chance to gain useless knowledge that would be embedded in my brain forever (unlike anything I learned in school).

The bus ride was very uneventful, unlike the times I’ve ridden BART or Muni. I one time literally watched a crack deal go down when on Muni, and nobody on the bus was fazed by it. I, on the other hand, was freaking out.

Anyway, before I knew it, the bus dropped my husband and I off at our stop, directly in front of Forest Lawn Cemetary at 7 a.m. on the dot. We briefly considered swinging through to see the grave of Michael Jackson, but decided that would be too tourist-y of us and continued on. We had a train to catch.

By the way, that’s another very Angeleno thing to do–escape LA. Seeing as I hope to do this often, perhaps I am more Angeleno than I thought.


5 Responses to “Another One Rides the Bus”

  1. rockitpixie December 14, 2010 at 6:35 PM #

    Girl, you must have gotten a brand new bus. Granted, I only rode the LA Metro a couple times in the 18 years of my residency, I used the Culver Citybus & whatever the Santa Monica bus system was called regularly. I have smelled things that I utterly hope a night of binge drinking will help me forget. Hasn’t worked yet. Ha. 🙂

    • cynicallipgloss December 14, 2010 at 6:44 PM #

      Whew!!! I guess I did luck out. Yikes your experiences don’t sound too great… 😦

  2. The Suze December 14, 2010 at 7:14 PM #

    Hahahaha The ad displaying on your site says “Why drive when you can take BART.” It’s the NorCal pull on this *ahem* turn-coat Angeleno.

    What about the buses in Firenze? You guys were regular riders. A biglietto was needed, if I recall correctly.

    This post describes a lovely bus ride with your beloved on LA’s finest without having to worry about who was gonna sit next to you as another comes on and another comes on…

    • cynicallipgloss December 14, 2010 at 7:26 PM #

      Nice! I’m glad the internets know my heart is still in NorCal.

      Yes, thank you, I completely forgot we road the bus in Italy! I guess my brain was limiting my blog to my American bus experiences.

  3. Your Husband December 14, 2010 at 7:33 PM #

    How dare you demerit anything Portland related. Hobos frequent all forms of public transportation in every city.

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