More than a million people ride the Los Angeles Metro on weekdays alone, according to metro.net, and I decided to step in their shoes for a day and take a bus ride to U.C.L.A. I decided to choose U.C.L.A. as my destination because it seemed like a long journey that cut through a good portion of L.A., and my mom worked there so I had a guaranteed ride back home. The route I chose was made up of two buses, a little less than a mile total of walking and would take almost two hours to complete.
I left my house at around 11:30 a.m. to make my way to the first bus stop. I got to the 603 bus stop in a little less than 10 minutes and waited by myself for another 10 minutes until the bus finally came.
When I got on the bus, I noticed that there were less than 10 people riding, which I thought was pretty low. Everyone pretty much kept to themselves, with a lot of them having earphones in. The bus ride was about 15 minutes, and before I knew it I was at my stop at Sunset and Rosemont.
Luckily I did not have to travel far to the next bus that I had to take, as it was at the same stop that I got off on. To my delight, it did not take long until the 2 bus came, and I hopped on, put in my fare of $1.75 and took a seat.
As soon as I sat down, I noticed that the seat was a little wet but I did not think much of it until two older Hispanic ladies caught my attention and told me that the seat was wet and that I should move. I thanked them and moved to the seat directly behind them, starting a conversation. The two ladies were Lupita Rosales and Laura Gomez, good friends that both immigrated from Mexico almost 15 years ago and take
the bus to work.
“We live around the same neighborhood and work in the same apartment complex and work as cleaning ladies for the same office building. We’ve taken this route for a long time,” Gomez said.
“Almost as much time as we’ve been here, right? So 14 or 15 years,” Rosales added.
Rosales’ and Gomez’s consistency for taking the bus goes against a Los Angeles Times report about how immigrants tend to stray away from the Metro the longer they are here. The article continues to say that because of lower gas fares and late buses, riders have gone down from around 28 million in February of 2014 to 26 million in February 2016.
Despite this,I still found that large groups of people of various races continued to pile in the bus. One of these riders was Korean tourist Shannon Yi. She has been using the Los Angeles transit system since she arrived three weeks ago to visit friends and popular tourist spots.
“I was very intimidated of the ride system here. I always walk in Korea but I can’t do that here since everything is so far. But I’m getting used to it, and it’s very helpful to get me to places I want to go at very cheap prices” Yi said.
As I got closer to my stop, less people got on and more people got off. I noticed a young man in a lab coat and decided to sit close to him. I found out his name was Alexander Tang, and he was in the middle of a residency program at U.C.L.A.
“I like taking the bus. It’s not crowded all the time like it is in China. And when it does get crowded it feels familiar, like I’m back home. But I feel so relaxed when I’m in the bus,” Tang explained.
We both got off at the same stop, Western and Weyburn, and as we parted ways I realized that most of the people I talked to and saw on the bus came from different backgrounds and circumstances, but that they all agree on the fact that despite delays and crowds, the Metro essentially takes you where you need to go.
“As long as it gets me here in one piece, then that’s okay with me,” Tang said.
I still prefer going at my own pace and relying on my car for that, but I respect those who take public transportation and have successfully integrated that in their life.