New Feature: Commute Journal #1

This has been a very hectic month for me. Just four days ago I moved all my stuff back home from Davis, CA and next week I will be starting school at USC’s School of Policy, Planning, and Development. Though I am excited to start school again, there are a few issues that I will need to work out before next week. One important issue to tackle is how I will get from my home in the San Fernando Valley to USC.

This being Los Angeles, I of course looked at how to get to school by car. The trip spans a distance of about 30 miles, which according to google maps would take about 40 min without traffic (1 hour 20 min with traffic). Now with traffic, that would make my average speed about 23 miles per hour. A trip without traffic would yield an average speed of 45 mph. I don’t know about you, but I hate traffic. Now with my classes beginning at 10 am, and ending at 5 pm, I expect to encounter nothing but traffic during the heart of the morning and evening rush hours. And the fact that a semester long parking permit costs $414.00 was the last straw! I had to look for another way to get to school.

I looked into public transportation options starting with MTA. Google Transit suggested I take the Metro Orange Line to North Hollywood where I could then transfer to the Metro Red Line. I would then have to ride the Red Line to its terminus at Union Station and then transfer to a USC shuttle that would take me to school.

Total travel time, 1 hr 30 min.

1 hr 30 min simply wouldn’t cut it. I could drive to school and get there in about the same amount of time and still retain my mobility. Was there no other way???

Suddenly, I remembered about Metrolink! I had once taken Metrolink from LA Union Station to Oceanside to visit a friend in SD. My past experience was great. Trains were clean, seats were comfy, and there were tables on the upper level where I read and did homework. Conveniently, there is a station close to my house so I decided to take Metrolink from Northridge to LA Union Station.

I boarded a Metrolink Ventura County Line train at 8:32 am on a Monday and the train, although not packed, was fairly occupied. There are only 4 stops (Van Nuys, Burbank Airport, Downtown Burbank, Glendale) between Northridge and Union Station. I arrived at Union Station around 9:12, boarded a USC Shuttle at 9:25 and arrived on campus at 9:39 am.

Total travel time, 1 hour 7 min.

We’ll see  how well the train serves me during the rest of the semester. The trip costs $8.00 one way so it is a little pricey, but students do get a 10% discount on monthly and 10-ride passes. More on my rail adventures to come later!

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