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Bus Travel

To and from Los Angeles

The duration of a bus trip from other parts of California or nearby states can be comparable to the time it takes to take a plane, preflight waiting considered. The only Greyhound terminal is in an industrial area of downtown L.A., off Alameda Street. The waiting room and restrooms are clean, and there are individual pay TVs. The terminal is not close to other transit stations but by taking MTA Bus 58 you can get to Union Station. Taxis are also available at the terminal.

Greyhound has dozens of daily routes serving Los Angeles. It often has promotional fares from other West Coast cities to L.A. You can buy tickets by phone, on the Greyhound Web site, or in person at the terminal. The online purchasing service is called Will Call; you'll need to make the transaction at least two hours before departure.

Within Los Angeles

Inadequate public-transportation systems have been an L.A. problem for decades. That said, many local trips can be made, with time and patience, by bus. In certain cases, it may be your best option; for example, visiting the Getty Center, going to Universal Studios and/or the adjacent CityWalk, or venturing into Downtown. There's also a special Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) bus that goes between Union Station and Dodger Stadium for Friday night home games. It doesn't save money, but it can save you time and parking-related stress.

For the fastest MTA service, look for the red-and-white Metro Rapid buses; these stop less frequently and are able to extend green lights. At this writing, there were 21 Rapid routes including routes on Wilshire and Vermont boulevards. The Metropolitan Transit Authority DASH (Downtown Area Short Hop) minibuses cover six different circular routes in Hollywood, Mid-Wilshire, and the downtown area. The buses stop every two blocks or so. The Santa Monica Municipal Bus Line, also known as the Big Blue Bus, is a pleasant and inexpensive way to move around the Westside, where the MTA lines leave off. There's also an express bus to and from downtown L.A. Culver CityBus Lines run seven routes through Culver City.

MTA schedules are available through the information line below, but heavy local traffic can make them unreliable. Service is available at all hours. An MTA bus ride for both standard and Rapid service costs $1.50, plus 35¢ for each transfer between buses or from bus to subway.

At this writing, a one-day pass costs $6, and a weekly pass $20 for unlimited travel on all Metro buses and trains (biweekly and monthly passes are also available). Passes are valid from Sunday through Saturday.

DASH buses make pickups at five-minute intervals. You pay 35¢ every time you get on. Buses generally run weekdays 6 am–7 pm and Saturday 10 am–5 pm; a few downtown weekend routes run on Sunday as well. Note: The Downtown Discovery Route (DD) makes a continuous loop among downtown sites; Route E is a shopper's tour with stops in the Broadway, Jewelry, and Fashion districts, as well as at two downtown malls.

The Santa Monica Municipal Bus Line (the Big Blue Bus) costs $1. Transfers are free from one Big Blue Bus to another; to MTA or Culver CityBus it's 50¢. You can also use a prepaid Metrocard, the Little Blue Card, and get the same discounted rate for multiple rides (70¢ per ride). The Big Blue buses generally run from 5 am to midnight.

Culver CityBus is $1 and runs 6 am-midnight. The Santa Monica bus line's Metrocard can be used on this system but not Big Blue Bus tokens. Culver CityBuses also accept MTA tokens but not MTA passes. Children and people over 65 always pay less on all lines.

You can pay your fare in cash on MTA, Santa Monica, and Culver City buses, but you must have exact change. You can buy MTA passes and tokens throughout the city at MTA customer centers and some convenience stores and grocery stores. Metrocards or tokens for the Santa Monica buses can be purchased at local libraries and retailers. Call or check the pertinent bus Web site for the retail location nearest you.

Bus Information

Culver CityBus (310/253–6510. www.culvercity.org.)

DASH (310/808–2273 or. www.ladottransit.com/dash.)

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (323/466–3876. www.metro.net.)

Santa Monica Municipal Bus Line (310/451–5444. www.bigbluebus.com.)