The Transportation Conundrum As an Angeleno, transportation is central to my everyday life — dictating what time I leave my home for work, to meet friends, or run errands. Whether or not you live in Los Angeles affectionately known as the ‘car capital of the world’, you’re probably familiar with the complaints of Angelenos when […]

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Sondors Thin Bridges LA Metro’s “First Mile, Last Mile” Transit Gap

The Transportation Conundrum

As an Angeleno, transportation is central to my everyday life — dictating what time I leave my home for work, to meet friends, or run errands. Whether or not you live in Los Angeles affectionately known as the ‘car capital of the world’, you’re probably familiar with the complaints of Angelenos when it comes to public transportation.  Not enough, not safe, inconvenient, the list goes on. Each Angeleno has their own reason, whether excuse or reality, for why public transportation has failed them.  However, within the past few years LA Metro has taken a stand, steps are being made to improve our public transit, and just a couple months ago in May, Metro opened a new expo line that would cart riders from the beach in Santa Monica to Downtown LA.  That’s right, finally the wedge that divided East & West (we’ll call it the 405/10 freeway) doesn’t seem so big after-all.

“First Mile, Last Mile”

I live in Venice and work in DTLA, so you can imagine my delight at the possibility of ditching my car and traffic for an easy commute.  My fantasy of reading a book on my way to work instead of silently warring with some dude in a white BMW(undoubtedly) for a better freeway position was quickly diminished when I tried out the Metro and found it was kind of a hassle and took me twice as long.  My problem is the problem that many Angelenos face with our public transportation, the infamous “first mile, last mile” gap to transit.  If I want to leave my car behind (which is necessary because there’s no parking at my nearest metro stop) then I have to take the bus to the Metro, and once I arrive in DTLA, my walk is about 15 minutes.  That’s an hour and a half each way, not quite the quick car-free commute I’d been dreaming of.  Metro ridership reflects this, overall ridership is 5.5% lower in 2016 than 2015 despite the two new rail extensions.  

Commuting Options

So my options are: 1) bike to the station – end up at work smelly and sweaty after an unavoidable hill.  For Angelenos who don’t own bikes, Metro recently unveiled a bike share program that’s seems promising, but is still limited to downtown and Santa Monica.  For commuters like me who aren’t keen on climbing hills in a silk blouse, this may not be a viable option.  2) Bus to the station – with bus and walking my commute takes 1.5 hours.  It’s an added step that really cramps my style and eats up my time; it’s simply not efficient enough. 3) Drive – sometimes fast, sometimes not, depending on what the traffic Gods of Los Angeles are feeling on that particular day. I’m part of the problem if I drive.  Oh, and parking. Parking alone makes this the most expensive option. 4) Walk to the metro?  I wouldn’t get to work until lunch.  Too far, not an option.  5) eBike – Bingo!

Sondors Thin + Metro Bridges First Mile, Last Mile Gap

The brand new Sondors Thin was delivered just a couple weeks after the new Metro expo lines opened, and it just so happened to be the perfect solution to my commuting conundrum.  Light and portable just like a regular bicycle, it fits easily into the Metro bike storage and got me from my house to the Metro in less than 15 minutes, no sweat on that dreaded hill.  Downtown 40 minutes later, I hopped off the Metro and went merrily on my way to the office, in 5 minutes.  The entire trip took me 1 hour, and cost me $3.50.  

80% of people who use transit frequently for multiple purposes typically access it on foot and not by car, meaning transit thrives in pedestrian environments.  In a city like LA that is evolving, but will likely never be walkable due to urban sprawl and poor planning, we need other methods to utilize public transportation.  Electric bikes may be the “first mile, last mile” answer we’ve been looking for.  

 

Headed out on my first Sondors + Metro commute!

Headed out on my first Sondors + Metro commute!

My route from home to the Metro Stop.

My route from home to the Metro Stop.

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15 minutes later, I’m at the tracks.

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Metro fare, check.

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TAP & Go!

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Goodbye Santa Monica!

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Sondors first Metro ride, aw.

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Sondors + Metro, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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