A lot of people have asked me “How do you get around LA without a car?” I considered bringing my car to school for both my sophomore and junior years. But when I added up the costs of parking, gas, and maintenance, it just didn’t seem worth it. So, what happens when I want to drive into downtown for a bite to eat? Or possibly stop by the nearest Target to pick up groceries and house supplies? Or even take a shopping trip to 3rd street Promenade in Santa Monica?
I typically have two options. One option is Zipcar. Zipcars are a great resource to college students. With plenty of Zipcars parked all over campus in designated parking spots, you will have no problem reserving a car for the time slot you need. Zipcars are rented by the hour at a flat rate (cheap!) with gas included. You can reserve the car of your choice (anything from a sedan to a van) at a specific time, pick it up and then even extend your trip if your plans run late or you get stuck in traffic! Most rental car companies require a minimum age of 25 but with Zipcar you only need to be 18, which is perfect for college students. I have used Zipcar to go to the beach and the Getty, to IKEA for move in day and even to travel to an off-campus interview last spring. Zipcar costumer service is also extremely helpful and understanding in case there is ever a problem.
My second transportation option is the LA Metro Expo Line. Although not the best for shopping trips or grocery stops, it is a lot cheaper and more convenient than Zipcar. The line runs right along the edge of campus with different stops on Figueroa and Exposition. Without breaking the bank, you can venture downtown for dinner, travel to LA Live for a game or concert or even travel to the Fashion District for the day. The Expo line is expanding to Pasadena and Long Beach in the near future.
If all else fails, I try bribing my friends with food, specifically a free hamburger at In N Out. It can be a bit of an inconvenience sometimes to not have immediate access to a car. But it definitely is a lot less stressful and one less thing to worry about while I am at school.