Getting From Hermosa Beach To Santa Monica In 2 2/12 Hours
It’s never easy using public transportation in Los Angeles, and I seem to have a magical knack for making things worse.
You see, I have what I call “bad public transportation timing.” Translated, this means if I need to catch a bus or a train, I have generally just missed it and must wait a long time for another one. Usually, that wait time is extended because there’s some type of glitch that delays its arrival.
Meanwhile, I will see the same bus or train line headed in the opposite direction, or several other buses or trains going to places I am not headed at the time. Or if I’m walking down the street and don’t need a bus, then there it is, almost as if I ordered it on an app like Uber.
It never fails and I’m not sure why, but it always has me on edge when using public transport, even in Europe which beats the pants off the USA – and especially L.A. – when it comes to public transportation.
Take this trip from Hermosa Beach to Santa Monica, for instance. I was on my way to a restaurant/bar to a party for a friend and it took 2 1/2 hours to go some 20 miles.
First, I had to catch the local Beach Cities Transit, which would carry me to a public transportation station near LAX, where I would transfer to the Big Blue Bus,which serves Santa Monica.
Normally when I get to the LAX station, I see Big Blue Buses rolling in as if there’s an assembly plant down the street. They seemed to come every five seconds. Except the one time I need to catch one, of course.
Not only was the bus not there but there was not one in sight. Five minutes passed and no bus. Ten minutes passed, then 15.
Meanwhile there were no less than half a dozen buses going to Culver City. (And you can bet if I ever need to catch a bus here to Culver City, there won’t be one to be found while there will be a dozen Big Blue Buses pulling in one right after the other).
Finally, after about 20 minutes, a Big Blue Bus turned in off Aviation Blvd., and into the parking lot. By the time it pulled up, myself and others were licking our chops to get at it, like staving diners whose meal had just been delivered to a restaurant table.
After the passengers unloaded, however, the driver announced she was going on a break, shut the door and pulled to what in boxing would be called a “neutral corner.”
A couple minutes later another Big Blue Bus rolled up and I nearly knocked over departing passengers to get on board. The driver was definitely leaving but just as he was about to pull away, the first driver suddenly sprang to life, raced over and parked right in front of the second bus. Yes, she cut us off with her bus!
She sat there for a few minutes without budging. The bus was empty, of course, because everyone had gotten onto the first bus. Geez!
It was the same bus line so we had to follow her. Oh, and also just behind us, a third Big Blue Bus had arrived, so we wound up caravanning to Santa Monica.
Yes, after waiting for 20 minutes on one bus, three suddenly appeared in less than five.
At least I had a seat but of course as soon as we departed the air conditioner stopped working. And the bus stopped two blocks short of where its route indicated it would, meaning I had to make up the difference on foot.
As a result of all this, I was half an hour late to the reception.
On the plus side, there was an open bar at the event and the entire trip only cost a buck.
On the return, I took the shared-ride company Lyft (11 bucks, 30 minutes).