Getting around in any big city can be challenging, and LA is no exception. While LA isn’t known for its public transportation it’s not only possible but can be practical to get around using the Metro bus and trains. Each City Year member will receive a FREE Metro Public Transportation TAP Pass for unlimited public transit in the immediate LA-area.
Here are a few recourses for you:
Each of our 26 schools is accessible via public transit from any location in the city and Metro is by far the main mode of transportation for our corps here in Los Angeles. Refer to the commuting section for specific lines and routes that are accessible to each of our partner schools. For more specifics details check out the maps and timetables here: http://www.metro.net/riding/maps/. Also consider downloading Metro Mobile App which will give you access to routes, arrival times, maps and important notifications while you’re on the go.
About half of our corps utilizes public transportation for their main means of transportation and the other drive their own car. For shorter trips and when you want to explore local areas, walking, biking, and ridesharing services are all viable options as well.
Los Angeles is the second largest city in the US, with over 18 million people in the greater metro area, and covers 502.7 square miles. LA is large and it is known for its horrible traffic. The average traveler in LA experiences 72 hours of traffic delay per year according to the Texas Transportation Institute study. With traffic congestion the norm commuting and travel time to work are important considerations in deciding where to live.
There is public transportation in Los Angeles, but it's not like in New York or Boston. Los Angeles is not a very walkable city, and when you search for an apartment for rent in the City of Angels test drive the commute before you commit. Consider moving close to a Metro Rail Station as it will give you access to most schools and major Metro hubs.
How will you get to work? Will you use public transportation or a personal vehicle? AmeriCorps members receive a free Metro TAP pass for unlimited transportation in the LA area, but it does not cover many commuter transportation options for suburbs or neighboring cities (See the “Getting Around LA” section for more details). Below are some common public transportation train and bus lines by neighborhood for each current CYLA school:
- City Year Office
- Metro Center (Blue Line, Expo Line, Red Line, Purple Line)
- Pershing Square (Red line)
- Belmont HS — McArthur Park Station (Red Line) + 20 Min walk
- JLMS — Metro Center/ 7th ST + 15 Minute Walk
- NOW — Wilshire/ Normandy Station (Purple Line)
- UCLA — Wilshire/ Normandie Station (Purple Line)
- Virgil MS — Vermont/ Beverly Station (Red Line)
- Boyle Heights
- Hollenbeck MS — Soto Station (Gold Line) + 9 Min Walk
- Mendez — Soto Station (Gold Line)
- Roosevelt HS — Soto Station (Gold Line) + 10 Min
- Stevenson MS — Indiana Station (Gold Line) + 9 Minute Walk
- South LA
- Clinton MS— Jefferson/ USC Station (Expo Line)
- Jefferson HS — Bus 55/355 or Bus 202
- John Muir MS — Bus 204 or Bus 754
- Manual Arts HS — Expo/Vermont Station (Expo Line) + 15 Min Walk
- Normandie Ave ES — Bus 105/705 or Bus 206
- Santee HS — San Pedro Station (Blue Line)
- 93rd Street ES — Bus 10/48 or Bus 51/52/352
- 99Th Street ES — 103rd Street (Blue Line) + 20 Min Walk
- 109th Street ES — Bus 51 or Bus 52/352
- 122nd Street ES — Avalon Station (Green Line)
- Compton Ave ES — 103rd Street (Blue Line)
- Figueroa Street ES — Bus 81 or Harbor Fwy Station (Green Line) or the Silver Line Bus
- Gompers MS — Avalon Station (Green Line)
- Jordan HS — 103rd Street - 20 Min Walk of 103rd Street (Blue Line) + Bus 117
- Markham MS —103rd St Station (Blue Line)
- Locke HS — Avalon Station (Green Line) + 12 Minute Walk
TAP is a durable, eco-friendly, plastic card that contains smart chip technology which allows you to electronically purchase and load Metro passes, participating regional and local transit line passes, Stored Value, or any combination of the three. TAP is easy and convenient to use.
How does my TAP pass work?
Tap your card it each time you board a bus or enter a metro train station and enjoy your ride. You must have this card with you at all times, when riding Metro, and tap it at designated terminals in order to ride. If you do not have your card while on Metro or fail to tap you may be fined up to $250 and 48 hours community service regardless of the fact that your tap pass is paid for the duration of your service year. Police regularly monitor public transit stations and you WILL get caught if you try to freeload so please keep this with you when out and about.
When will I receive my free Metro TAP pass?
You will receive your free TAP pass on your first day of service August 3rd, when you check in for BTA. Note if you do not email your professional photo to Christine in at least a month prior to service you may not receive your permanent pass on your first day. Metro transit has a long turn-around time to create new pass, which is not controlled by City Year. If you don’t receive your permanent pass on your first day you will receive a temporary pass until yours arrives.
If I move to LA early can I get my TAP prior to August 3rd?
No, you are responsible for paying for any transportation costs prior to your first day of service.
How long is my TAP pass active?
Your tap pass will remain active for the duration of your service with City Year from July 2015 to June 2016. If you leave service early your tap pass will be cancelled at that time.
How do a store my TAP card safely and securely?
You should always store your TAP card in a safe, dry, place where it will not be bent (like in your back pocket) or rub up against keys, other credit cards, or magnets that can deactivate the chip in your TAP card.
Where can I use my TAP pass?
All bus and light rail operated by Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) only accept Annual TAP cards. For more information visit: http://www.metro.net/riding/aepp/ FAQ page.
What if I lose my TAP pass?
If you lose your tap pass or it no longer works (hot carded) contact Christine Pierce, Corps Operations Coordinator, to order a new card. Note that you can only lose your card twice and after that no new cards can be issued.
Is there a fee to replace a lost TAP pass?
YES! Metro charges a fee to replace a lost or damaged card is $25 the first time and $50 for the second. If your card is stolen, City Year will cover the replacement fee. You will be required to submit a copy of the police report.
When in uniform, if the bus, train or subway begins to fill up you are obligated as an AmeriCorps Member to give up your seat and allow others to sit. If giving up your seat will cause more congestion than service, by all means remain seated. Our goal is to serve others, therefore if an elderly person or mother and child board the bus and need a place to sit, please give up your seat and model the compassion and humility expected of those in service to their country.
How long are you willing to spend commuting? Service starts early, and being prompt is required, so it’s important to consider how much time you are willing to commute in the morning and how much earlier you are willing to get up to ensure you arrive on time. Service day are also long and for some having a long commute on top of that adds stress. Do you like to read/listen to music while commuting, so don’t mind the extra time to decompress? Do you feel stressed in traffic, so extra time is an unwelcome addition?
How will you get to trainings and meetings at the CYLA office? Trainings are often held at our CYLA downtown office, as well as meetings after service, and professional development sessions. While you will not travel to the office every day it’s important to consider how you will travel to the office. If you drive, parking around the office is very expensive.
If you have a car, where will you park? Busy streets mean busy parking areas. When shopping for an apartment, always inquire about the parking situation. Many apartments come with their own parking space, but the location and security of your parking spot is also a concern when choosing an apartment in LA. If you will have street parking, you'll have to be aware of times when your car will need to be parked elsewhere, such as street cleaning day, or rush hour. A secure parking spot is often worth the extra cash.
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