Tag Archives: LA

Buses are for everyone, part II

A self-described LA “snob,” recently lost her job and found herself unable to afford her car lease. Instead of trading down for something cheaper, she decided–for the first time in her life–to give Metro a try. The result? She’s not 100% sold on car-freedom (not surprising in sprawling, car-dependent SoCal), but she’s definitely diggin’ the ride. From the LA Times (via: Erin):

“I felt like I was too good for the bus,” said [Jacquelyn] Carr, recalling her virgin voyage last October with a mixture of embarrassment and marvel. “I think there’s a social understanding and a construction around that if you take the bus, you take it because you don’t have money. There’s a social standard. Obviously I had bought into that.”


Despite [the drawbacks], Carr says it feels good to take the bus. She’s saving money that would have been going to her car: about $450 a month on gas, insurance and car payments, not to mention oil changes and tuneups. She also feels she’s helping the environment — and the bus gives her a front-row seat in a city she missed when she was driving and focused on traffic.

“This feels different, this looks different,” said Carr, who has a quick grin, long, brown hair and a penchant for bright-colored clothes and big sunglasses. “When you drive through the streets of L.A., you’re not looking around, talking to people.”

I find it fascinating how many people–no matter their initial motivation for trying it–get hooked on the bus for essentially the same reasons. “Adventure” is a recurring theme, even (actually, especially) among people who were initially intimidated by PT. (You can read about Jacquelyn’s bus adventures on her blog, Snob on a Bus.)

And, of course, there’s nothing like the hope of finding bus luh to add a little shine to the ride.

But despite the aches and inconveniences, Carr still believes in her bus dreams — meeting new people and perhaps even finding that special someone.

She might be on her way.

“My bag matches your jacket,” a young man named Peter told her on the 720.

They talked about how bad the television station is on the bus and where they each came from and went to school. At one point, they both got out of their seats for other people.

Then came Carr’s stop.

“Do you ride the bus often?” Peter asked.

“Every day,” Carr said, before walking away. “Every day, my friend.”


Art and the politics of transportation

If you’re going to be anywhere near SoCal between now and December 11th, go see LA artist Diane Meyer’s provocative new photography exhibit, Without a Car in the World (100 Car-less Angelinos Tell Stories of Living in Los Angeles).

Car-free artist Melba Thorne (photo by Diane Meyer, via Green LA Girl)

Here’s an excerpt from Green LA Girl’s review:

Without a Car pairs photo portraits of 100 L.A.-area residents (including me!) with brief quotes from their interviews about car-free living. Far from a simple hurrah for automobile-free living, the exhibit features interviews both from those who are proud of their car-free lifestyles to others who sound deeply unhappy about a car-less-ness that’s been imposed on them, whether due to financial concerns, disability, or other reasons.

In fact, the juxtapositions of these points of view are what makes Without a Car especially poignant. One Angeleno talks about how taking public transportation’s so much easier and convenient than people think it is. Another expounds on the difficulties of getting around by bus — how long it takes, how unreliable the system seems.


What the exhibit makes clear is that going car-free’s an extremely individual experience — and that race and class play heavily into how pleasant that experience is going to be.

This looks (and sounds) absolutely amazing. If you’re able check this out, hit me up (or comment), and let me know what you think.