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Unlike other U.S. cities, taxis are usually not flagged down at the curb. You can secure a taxi in one of two ways:
1. From in front of the airport terminals, popular restaurants, bars and clubs (like those on the Sunset Strip) or in front of the bigger hotels. If a line of taxis isn't present, there will be someone near the entrance to the establishment who can call one for you, e.g, the concierge at a hotel or the host at a restaurant.
2. Take a list of taxi companues with you and make the call yourself. Lists are available at your hotel or from this website: http://www.taxicabsla.org/ (click on 'Phone Numbers" at the top of the home page).
A typical ride from LAX to Downtown Los Angeles is price-fixed at $46.50 (excluding the customary 15% tip). Ordinarily, the fares are calculated on the basis of both the distance to your destination as well as the time it takes to get there. (If the taxi is stuck in traffic, the fare will continue to grow!). An explanation of the fares is at the above-mentioned website (click on "Fares" at the top of the home page). To estimate your fare, use this handy website:
Renting a car is a viable alternative to taking taxis or using the Metro Bus and Metro Rail lines if any of the following is true:
1. You will be venturing to "out of the way places" like Malibu, for example.
2. You will be spending some time exploring the westside of Los Angeles (where there is no Metro Rail) and buses are impacted by "rush hour" traffic in the mornings (between 6 and 9) and in the afternoon (between 3 and 7).
Be aware that driving can be expensive since parking is not free at lots of the tourist attractions and also (perhaps) at your hotel. Parking charges at hotels can be as high as $30 per day. Attractions charge between $5 and $20. Parking in Downtown is nearly impossible on weekdays; garages and parking lots are often full and the prices are very high. If you are planning on exploring downtown Los Angeles, consider using the RED LINE metro rail system as it covers most of the downtown area. DAY PASSES cost $5 and provide unlimited rides on METRO RAIL and METRO BUS for the day. Public transit info is available at www.metro.net.Competitive rental car offers can be found on any of the online travel services, e.g. Travelocity,com, Expedia.com, Hotwire.com, Priceline.com, Economybookings.com etc. (Click on "Cars" for side-by-side comparisons of the car rental companies.) Be aware that most non-Americans will be required to purchase supplemental insurance (often not shown online) that could double the cost of your car rental. Shuttle services are a typical choice to and from airports.Bon Voyage Transportation, Prime Time Shuttle and Super Shuttle are the local choices around Los Angeles. Private limousine services are available from numerous companies, at varying prices and differing levels of luxury and service. Examples include A Lax Limousine, LA City Limo and Green Path Transfers, but be sure to shop around as competition is fierce, which means good deals are often available. You should expect to pay upwards of $65 (excluding standard 15% gratuity) for a private transfer from LAX to Downtown.