Carfree in LA Even though I am in Los Angeles, I no longer have a car. I have been car-free for three years now. I do rent cars and take Lyfts, but I primarily take buses.
Yes, you can take buses in LA. No, it's not like the movie, Speed. I doubt some of the buses can stay over fifty mph.
My main reason for giving up the car was economic. My transportation costs have gone way down. I don't have to pay for oil changes.
However, I have realized that there have been mental benefits as well. I was tired of sitting in traffic with my hands on the wheel while NPR told me about the latest world crisis. I was tired of paying money to big oil. I was tired of the go, go, go, brake, go. I figured I was in a city. There were buses.
The buses took some adjusting. I became more centered in West Los Angeles although I can get to Downtown and I even bused down to Torrance for jury duty and Orange County for a gig. The buses run on time (pretty much). I have an app on my phone to tell me when the bus is coming.
Timing is important. There is a lot of waiting, and I actually like that. I leave the house with plenty of time to get somewhere. I am no longer rushing. I get to the bus stop, wait for the bus, get on the bus, ride the bus, then get off when I'm where I need to be. I no longer am putting the foot down on the gas.
Sometimes, I have to (gasp!) walk from the bus to where I'm going. Even though the song says, nobody walks in LA, I have found lots of people do just that.
As for the folks who ride the bus, it's a total cross section of folks. Everyone is going to somewhere and we're all temporarily willing to ride together.
I have made some mistakes. I have missed a transfer and decided to just walk it. I have missed the bus, and the next one wasn't due for a half hour. Oh well.
Will I go back to a car? At some point, I probably will, but right now, I take the bus. I have a tap card that I fill up and just tap when I get on. It's easier than carrying quarters.