The most important of all the city’s airports is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) which is currently the third busiest airport in the world. Its location couldn’t be more convenient just fifteen miles from the city centre. Despite its size and the amount of people going through LAX daily it is quite easy to find your way around. Free shuttle buses connect the eight terminals and are blue, green and white in colour. To get into town you can either take a taxi which you will find at the lower level of each terminal or you can avail of any of the shuttle van services. Typical taxi fares to downtown LA are about US$30 while shuttle services such as Super Shuttle or Xpress Shuttle vary between $15 and $35 depending on your location but they will also drop you to your door.
The other four airports in the city are Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport, Long Beach Municipal Airport, John Wayne Airport and Ontario International Airport but the reality for the majority of air passengers flying to LA is that you will arrive at LAX. If you do fly into any of the others, once again both shuttle buses and taxis are easy to come by and will take you directly to your accommodation.
Another alternative for those of you already in the US is to travel by rail to Los Angeles. Amtrak connects LA with over five hundred cities throughout the country so regardless of where you are you should be able to find a connection to LA without any major difficulties. As with airfares, train fares depend on the route you are taking with the popular connections being the more expensive. To economise, however, you will have to sleep in normal carriages as opposed to those of the sleeper variety. Otherwise prices are comparable to those paid to travel by air.
If you do take the train your terminus is union Station which is located on the northern edge of downtown. To get to your accommodation you can either avail of one of the many taxis which you will see outside or take the Metro – the Red Line for Hollywood or the Blue Line for Long Beach.
And your final option when it comes to public transport into the city is by bus. Greyhound, like Amtrak, travels to LA from every major city in the US and has some excellent value passes which can save you quite a bit of money if you are travelling extensively by bus. If you do avail of this option you will arrive in downtown LA at 1716 East Seventh Street which lies east of Alameda.
While it’s widely believed that the only way to get around the city is by car, the good news for those of you wishing to avail of public transport is that the system on offer in LA is more than satisfactory. Run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), it consists of over 1500 buses (Metro Bus) and a subway system (Metro Rail). Having said that travel by bus can take quite a while due to the size of the city so if you can get to your destination by train, do so.
Metro Rail has sixty miles of lines in service. The Metro Blue Line connects downtown LA and Long Beach, the Metro Green Line links Norwalk and El Segundo and the Metro Red Line connects Union Station, downtown LA, Hollywood and Universal City. The standard fare for travel on both bus and rail is US$1.35 for a one-way journey but if you do wish to travel quite a bit avail of a weekly pass which costs $11 and offers unlimited travel on both services.
Taxis are also easily come by in LA but again because of the vast size of the city they really are not practical for most journeys across town as they are just too expensive. For shorter journeys, however, you should note that taxis cannot be hailed in the street (you need to call them or go to a rank at any of the major hotels) and you should always look for the official Los Angeles Taxicab Seal before travelling in one. The basic fare is US$1.90 and the cost is $1.60 per mile thereafter.