For those of us on the Westside who would like to use the bus as David Lazarus suggests ("My week on the bus: Pirate songs and other thrills," Consumer Confidential, June 15), there is one major limitation: parking.
Unless you live within walking distance of Wilshire or Santa Monica boulevards, where the primary bus routes run, you will find that places to leave your car for the day are very limited as a result of residential permit parking, street cleaning restrictions and metered parking.
There are no park-and-ride lots on the Westside. City transportation planners, take this as your challenge.
Thanks to David Lazarus for revealing the best-kept secret about public transportation: You don't have to become a daily rider to realize big savings at the gas pump. As he points out, once or twice a week will put big bucks back in your pocket.
However, Lazarus is incorrect when he says Metro's online trip planner only includes Metro service. In fact, it includes all transit operators in L.A. County, plus that of all surrounding counties as well -- Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura.
Thanks for your courage to explore our mass transit system and the good assessment of it that you provided in your story. And thanks for offering some good ideas for making mass transit more appealing to the occasional rider.
For me, the most important benefit of taking mass transit is what was partially described as a drawback in your story: building community. Sometimes that means we'll make acquaintances, and sometimes it means being in the presence of people who haven't found a place in our society.
It is possible to take public transportation to work, and I hope more people give it a try.
About a month ago I started taking the train and bus from my home in Long Beach to my office in the mid-Wilshire area, a 30-mile one-way trip. It takes only an extra half an hour to get to work. But the extra commute time is worth it because taking public transportation is more relaxing, once you get used to the route.
Without the stress of inching along on the 110 Freeway in rush-hour traffic, I arrive at work in a better mood. And knowing I need to catch a 6:03 p.m. bus gets me out of work on time.