According to the California Academy of Sciences (which just opened up in fancy new, Renzo Piano-designed digs in Golden Gate Park), riding the bus from the Bay Area to LA wins the lowest impact award, emitting less than a train, car, or plane ride. Greyhound, while terribly flawed as a bus system, actually offers an express bus from Oakland to LA. After a weekend of Halloweening, we hopped on a Sunday morning bus and got to North Hollywood in the afternoon. Though North Hollywood is not the first stop in the LA area (that's San Fernando), it's an awfully convenient place to disembark because the Greyhound stop is just three blocks from the Red Line station. Total cost:
$1.55 for BART ticket (this will vary depending on what stations you travel between)
$47 one way for Greyhound ride from Oakland to North Hollywood
$1.25 for Red Line ticket
It took approximately six hours to ride down the 5, and about 15 minutes to get to our Metro stop from North Hollywood. The Greyhound station in downtown Oakland is a few blocks from a BART station, too. Total travel time could be estimated at 7.5 hours, for, again, $49.85. And the good feeling of going sustainable counts for a lot for me.
Prop 1A passed, which means maybe one day in the future sometime we might have a better idea of what high speed rail in California might look like, but since I live in LA and like to visit the Bay Area NOW, I'd say this bus thing is a better option. There was briefly a company in LA called MegaBus that offered $20 one way tickets from Union Station in downtown LA to a BART station in Oakland, but they shut down this spring. They are still operating on the east coast. In fact, there are lots of companies on the east coast that offer competitive prices, like all the Chinatown buses. People there are more willing to go by bus.