I’m back! Getting into the LA groove.

I haven’t been around. I know. You probably gave up on me. I’m BACK. It’s been a good five months in LA and I’m slowly getting used to the big city. Oh and I still don’t own a car – yay for me. Some seriously great things have happened to LA recently – CicLAvia in Venice and Culver City, new bikeshare system announced, the new transit and bike focused Mobility Plan and LA’s plans to host the 2024 Summer Games.

Last weekend I visited FYF Fest – a music festival that’s been an LA institution for 12 years. It takes place in LA’s Expo Park, which actually lends itself really well to a music festival – it’s easy to get to by transit and doesn’t involve miles of walking to get between stages. It also has some of the best food out there. And the music of course is excellent.

As this is a transportation blog, I’ll dwell on sustainable access to the site and how the organisers and Metro made visiting such an easy (and cheap) task.

Personally, I thought that Metro did a brilliant job of promoting transit to festival goers – the Expo line was running well and staff were on hand to sell and reload TAP cards (LA’s smart card for easy transit payments) at the station (a simple, yet brilliant idea). This meant no long queues of confused passengers at stations and, importantly, no waiting in traffic queues to get to the location. The festival organizers also promoted transit as the main option to get to the event (remember, this is LA!) and also got onboard with Lyft  (an app that offers ridesharing, similar to Uber) to offer well managed pick-up and drop-off points for those who wanted to share rides. All that the organisers needed was to add some useful tools to their already excellent app – a quick view of when buses and trains were leaving in real time, time until a Lyft ride will be available, trip planning etc. Similar to what the Rugby World Cup is doing in the UK with their spectator journey planner.

It was interesting to overhear conversations between regular transit users and their friends who had never been near a train or bus before. ‘OH MY GOD we get dropped off RIGHT OUTSIDE!!’ was my personal favourite, along with ‘ARE WE SAFE?’. It was cool to see people introducing their friends to the not so horrific world of public transit – especially to a major event. Let’s hope this has an impact on future visits….

So refreshing to see this type of simple yet potentially impactful thinking happening in LA – it would be interesting to know what the mode split of visitors was to the festival. I know that the new bus service to Dodgers games has been equally successful. Hopefully, by next year, I’ll be able to ride one of LA’s new bikeshare bikes.

Even the biggest rock stars in the world get transit to their shows. Last winter, Arcade Fire took a tram to their show in Blackpool, England. Here’s a video of them having just left the trolley (complete with Mariachi band of course). Do it at FYF next year!


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