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California is a very large, diverse state. Public transportation is available in almost every county in the state, but its effectiveness varies. The San Francisco Bay Area has the most effective system for a variety of reasons and Los Angeles, less effective, and again for various reasons. The article below discusses and provides links for the four largest metro areas in the state.
Here, you'll find the best public transit systems in the state, starting with the MUNI system, which includes the famous Cable Cars, buses and the muni subway and light rail systems throughout the city. The BART Commuter Rail system is a long distance commuter system that services San Francisco International (SFO) and Oakland (OAK) Airports. Plus there are many more rail systems in the Bay Area, including Cal-Train, ACE, Santa Clara Valley, and more. Plus there are Ferries that get around the Bay area, plus Private companies that offer mainly bus tours of the area.
Check the Top Questions on the San Francisco forum for full descriptions of the Muni system, its fare system, visitor passes and directions to popular visitor sights from the city center.
The two best neighborhoods for public transit are: Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES has 2 public transit hubs:
a. UNION STATION -- an historic, architecturally-signifcant building adjacent to Olvera Street and Chinatown (both, popular tourist destinations) in the northeast corner of downtown L.A. The station is a transfer point for:
Above-ground trains (Metrolinktrains.com and Amtrak.com) to:
Metro rail trains to:
Buses to all points in the L.A. metro area and beyond. Some of the more popular routes include:
b. 7TH STREET / METRO CENTER STATION -- Transfer point between the red, purple and blue line metro rail trains. The station is in the center of downtown.
Metro rail trains are as follows:
Buses to many points in the L.A. metro area and beyond. Some of the more popular routes accessible from bus stops that are a short walk from 7th St/Metro Center include:
HOLLYWOOD has one major transit hub at the corner of Hollywood Bl & Highland Av. There's you'll find the following conveyances:
Red line trains to downtown (south) as well as Universal City and North Hollywood (north).
Buses to all points in the metro area. Popular routes include:
Also private services, such as Starline Tours (and other tour companies), provide escorted as well as unescorted tours to popular attractions. RedLineTours.com (no relation to the red line metro rail) offers walking tours of Hollywood.
NOTE: CENTRAL L.A. and the WESTSIDE are served by Metro buses. Metro rail and above-ground service do not serve these areas except as follows: The Expo Line (metro rail) connects 7th Street/Metro Center Station in downtown L.A. with Culver City on the west side of L.A. and is soon to be continuing onto the beach community of Santa Monica).
Detailed info about using the public transit system in L.A. including routes, costs and schedules: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g3...
L.A. County Public Transit website (see the previous link for tips on using this site): www.metro.net
Metrolink (above ground trains to outlying areas) website: www.metrolinktrains.com
Amtrak (above ground trains to outlying areas) website: www.Amtrak.com
Starline Coach Tours website: www.starlinetours.com
The Anaheim-Garden Grove Resort area has good public transportation through a variety of agencies, depending on the desired destination. The main public bus system is the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) bus system, which offers bus routes throughout Orange County. There is also Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART), which serves the visitor areas for the theme parks, convention center and sports venues. Anaheim is also served by Amtrak and Metrolink (commuter) trains. Stations that serve the Anaheim area are the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center/ARTIC (ANA) and the Fullerton Train Station (FUL).
The transportion is very effective on short trips around the resort area, but can be time consuming to other locations.
Here are two top Questions from the Anaheim Forum that discusses Public/Mass transit in the area.
The San Diego Metro area is another large area that has good public transortation. The San Diego Trolley is a light rail system that covers a small area of the county, but also has service to the Mexican border. The main transportation hubs are Santa Fe Station in Downtown San Diego and the Old Town Transit Center, both of which have Amtrak, Coaster (commuter rail) and Trolley service. San Diego is also served by a county wide bus service, The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (SDMTS).
* Note, due to the Americans with Disabilities Act, most public transportation vehicles will be wheelchair-friendly and the websites of the various agencies will have sections where they discuss accessibility issues.
Public transportation is available in a surprising number of lightly populated rural areas. For example, the Redwood National Park area has two good local bus systems, the Humboldt Transit Authority / Redwood Transit System and the Redwood Coast Transit. In the Gold Country, Calaveras County and Amador County provide bus services. For more information about public transportation in rural areas, look up the county or largest town in the area.