Saturday, August 29, 2009

Car-free in L.A.: Metro to the Getty

If I ruled the world, you could buy a Metro day pass as you board the bus, a week pass any day of the week and age without aches or pains or wanting to eat an early-bird dinner. That, health care, world peace and a mani-pedi for all and I'm happy.

After my dad and I were foiled in our attempt to buy a Metro week pass on a Thursday, informed that it would expire that Saturday, we boarded the bus on Wednesday with high hopes to buy a day pass for $5, to save $2.50 a piece. No such luck. Boarding the first of our three buses en route to The Getty Center that tops the hill overlooking the 405, the driver informed me a week pass is purchased at a store prior to getting on the bus.

Let me get this straight. We're supposed to spend bus fare to get to a bus-pass selling store to buy passes to save us on bus fare? This, and the limited week pass that only works Sunday through Saturday, seems to miss the point of customer service. Though I appreciate Metro's online trip planner, easy and intuitive and wildly improved from five years ago when I ended in tears trying to read a jumble of a route map, I'd like to suggest to the current king of Metro to change the day and week pass rules.

The driver eyed my dad's white hair and asked, How old is he? Rude, I thought and calculated, 63. He only pays a quarter, driver said. Metro's senior fare begins at age 62. Trouble is, I don't think of my dad as a senior citizen, until it can save us $6 a day. My dad is a tweener, reaping the benefits of senior citizen life but not yet leaning on a cane. He walked our six miles a day with no problem, and is now living in Tokyo, where he jumps on trains and buses to navigate a city in a language he is still trying to learn. He talks about organic food and health products. How is it possible he's a senior citizen? Dad did, however arrive at my apartment at 3:30 in the afternoon, asking about dinner, presumably to eat at the geriatric hour of 5:30. And he's not about to turn down a dollar discount.

If you're visiting L.A. or going car-free for an afternoon, learn from my mistakes. Check for all the reduced fares and benefits, as well as to find a store near you for the rules of day and week passes. For the trip to the Getty Center, simply type Getty Center as the destination address.

Though it took a total of six buses, the ride to and from the Getty from West Hollywood was only two hours round trip, the buses clean, on time and filled with students, professionals and tourists. We rode opposite two Japanese women from Westwood to the Getty, and ended up boarding with them the same bus back at the end of the day. The Getty was fantastic, (see my favorites here) and free. The parking fee is now $15 per car, which makes the $7.50 bus ride all the better. I do love L.A.


Dionne Sincire said...

i love the flow of this post. oh and great picture. you've truly captured the small space.

Rebecca Snavely said...

Thanks Dionne! The pictures are from Dad's Iphone. Small space indeed, especially for us tall folk (dad is 6'2).