Because I’m from a town that is only about a 2 hour drive away from LA, most people figured I would take my car to USC my freshman year, but since I wanted to really get a sense of moving away from home and living the college experience, I left my car at home. At first I was worried that it would be hard to get around LA and get home for breaks, but I quickly learned that you really don’t need a car your first year (or any year for that matter)! Living on campus, everything I needed was pretty much here. If I was hungry, I could eat at the dining halls or grab something from the campus center like my favorite, Lemonade. There is also a market in the campus center and a boutique in the bookstore so I didn’t really need to leave campus all that much.
When I did need to leave, Campus Cruiser and USC’s free Uber service were lifesavers! They run at peak times to make sure students get around this area safely at no charge. Just call up Campus Cruiser or use your Uber app and you’ll have a ride waiting outside your dorm (or apartment). USC also has shuttles that can take you to places like LAX and around the surrounding area of USC that run during the day time. If you want to know more about USC transportation, Campus Cruiser or USC’s partnership with Uber, check out the website.
During times when Campus Cruiser/free Uber isn’t in service and when I don’t want to pay for an Uber or a taxi, the Metro is my best friend. There are 3 stops right by USC and that train can take you directly as far west as Culver City and as far east as 7th street in downtown LA. There are also buses and connecting trains that can take you all around the city. I’ve used the Metro to get to Target, Sprinkles Cupcakes, UCLA (I had a training session there recently, this was not by choice), and Staples Center. It’s cheaper than driving and as the earthy, Environmental Engineering major that I am, I like to use public transportation because it’s better for the environment and more efficient than driving alone. For more info on the Metro system, go here!
If I ever wanted to get out of LA to go home or to visit somewhere farther, I used the Amtrak trains and buses. From LA, you can take an Amtrak bus north to Bakersfield and then hop on a train that goes as far up as San Francisco and Sacramento (and farther out of California), you can take an Amtrak train along the coast to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, and you can take an Amtrak train south to San Diego. The train is super easy and hassle-free, and some of them have Wi-Fi available for the ride. The Amtrak can also take you east outside of California, so for more info go check out their website!
Another great resource you can use are your friends and roommates. There’s always someone who has their car and who can give you a ride if you decide not to use any of the options I talked about! This year I have free parking at my apartment complex, so I have my car and I’m always volunteering to give people rides!
Don’t worry about how you’re going to get around the area, the city, and/or California. You have lots of options that don’t have to include bringing your car!Meet Bria