Friday, April 2, 2010

Recent Adventures in Transit

1. Every month I buy a Metrolink commuter pass. It's awesome, it costs a bunch, but it lets me ride any Metrolink or Amtrak train between LA and Irvine, in addition to being my LA Metro pass. But every month I put off forking over $250 until the first of the month, which means I end up having to buy a ticket for the subway to get to Union Station so I can buy my new pass. This slight inconvenience (which I bring on myself) often leads to waiting in line to buy my ticket at the station while I hear the Union Station-bound train arrive and depart from the platform below, its usual two minutes ahead of schedule. Well, this time around, as I did my 1st-of-the month-disgruntled-wasting-$1.25 shuffle, I happened to complain about missing the train we could hear down below to a security guard. He spontaneously made the machine spit out free tickets for me and the guy in front of me at the ticket machine too. I still missed the train, but that was pretty nice.

2. Then I made a stop over at the public library downtown, and picked up some academic books (hooray for the library!). LA does not offer transfers for transit users, but subway tickets are good for two hours from the time of purchase, and they only list the origin station. So if I'm traveling in one direction, make a brief stop, and then continue traveling in the same direction on the same line, I feel okay using the same ticket. I hiked down from the library to Pershing Square. Down at the bottom of the first set of escalators, where there's still daylight coming in, there are these ashtrays that fill with the garbage of passersby. Someone had apparently flicked a lit cigarette into one of these puppies, and the junk food bags inside lit up. I poured some water on it, and felt kind of cool as I passed into the station. Then, as I was boarding a train down below, this guy said, "have you been putting out fires your whole life?" Zing!

3. When I got back to Vermont/Beverly, Metrolink pass secured, I noticed that they'd installed a mosaic that wraps around three walls, each panel featuring...women's shoes. Shoes shoes shoes. It's quite an injection of color into a drab station.