It’s nice to ride a train in LA. For most of those who ride, it’s not a luxury. It’s like riding a bus. It’s more of a tool to get to work or school. But for my first ride, it was a test of sorts to see how easy, how convenient, and if it’s something I could recommend.
I rode the train from the Westside of LA to Downtown LA. It’s not a big deal, except in this city where I’ve lived my entire life, there’s been no commuter train. People have asked, “What took you so long?” The answer is easy. I have a car, and I seldom go to Downtown, and I don’t find myself near that exact stop in Culver City. I actually drove to the stop, parked, used the machine which was easy to figure out, and then got on the train. I could have just drove and beat the train anyway. It’s less about why I took it, it’s more about taking it.
The ride is a strange sight since you’re moving smoothly on city streets without stopping at every other light, there’s no traffic, you can stare into space or into your phone, and you’re on Exposition Blvd – a street just one block away from my childhood home. A street that one doesn’t use to drive eastbound.
There was a train perhaps in the 70s and early 80s that would wake me up at 6am on the weekdays, but it was hauling gear to the warehouses and factories. These were dirty freight cars, the type that hobos would ride. When one mentions trains in West LA, I still imagine a rusted red colored car and caboose. Yet, the trains of today are electric, seemingly space age, and at the same time, typical of what I’ve seen in every other city.
The ride to downtown happened without any incident. It was fairly empty on a weekend, although once the train got into downtown the crowds got larger. A few riders smelled like they just smoked out. The same stops as freeway exits pass, Crenshaw, Western, Vermont. The Convention Center / Staples is the Pico stop, and it’s convenient for a visit to Anime Expo where I got out with a Zelda and a Power Ranger.
The ride home was just as easy. Skaters going towards Venice sat near me. An older woman going to museums got off early on. A few other commuters rode until the last stop. My first questions from the non-LA train experienced is about the cleanliness. The train is clean, it’s worth riding, and it’s fun. Perhaps I’m a tiny bit proud of LA for having even just one train connecting the Westside to Downtown.