Monday June 18, 2012
On June 21, kick the addiction to gas, ride Metro and pocket the change. According to the American Public Transportation Association, drivers in Los Angeles who abandon cars in favor of mass transit can save on average $11,000 a year. With Metro Rail ridership in May 2012 up ten percent from last year, it's clear many Angelenos have gotten the message.
Metro has more than 87 miles of rail and thousands of miles of bus lines, so taking public transportation is easier and more convenient than ever. Culver City Station of the brand-new Expo Line opens on June 20, putting Westsiders within reasy reach of downtown Los Angeles and the museums at Expo Park. The Orange Line Extension to Chatsworth opens June 30, which means the commute just got a little easier for residents in the San Fernando Valley. The Orange Line will connect to Metrolink and Amtrak at the Chatsworth Station and the Metro Red Line at the North Hollywood end, providing more transit options for riders.
There are plenty of tools to help people get around with Metro. The Trip Planner makes taking Metro a snap. Just enter the starting point and destination, and the Trip Planner churns out different routes to choose from. Nextrip (metro.net/nextrip) provides real time bus information to make sure riders don't miss their bus. In addition, Metro also has smartphone apps that offer up to date with service alerts, schedules and more (metro.net/apps).
Bikes are welcome on all Metro trains and buses, so for those who want to work some exercise into their commutes, bike to a Metro stop or station before hopping on board for the rest of the trip.
L.A. County commuters today also have a growing number of rideshare options to combat high gas prices. Metro has a large rideshare matchup system to help commuters find fellow carpoolers. By carpooling, you can take advantage of carpool lanes, which will reduce your travel time and the amount you're shelling out for gas. Metro ExpressLanes (metro.net/expresslanes), coming to the I-110 Freeway this October, makes carpooling an even more attractive option. Carpoolers will be able to take the High Occupancy Toll lanes for free to speed up their commute.
Metro also runs a vanpool program and provides a $400 monthly vanpool subsidy for each vanpool to reduce transportation costs. Companies with vanpoolers can sign up for Metro Rewards, Metro's rideshare incentive program offered to all eligible employers in Los Angeles County. Metro Rewards offers gift certificates and other goodies for those who rideshare to work. There also are tax breaks and other commuter benefits for vanpoolers to further boost savings.
For more information on carpools or vanpools, go to metro.net/vanpool or call 323-GOMETRO (323.466.3876).
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