Using the LA Metro Subway

Contrary to what some folks might say about Los Angeles not having a subway… surprise! We do! In fact, the Los Angeles Metro runs our subway system along with the bus lines. Both the subway and the buses will take you all over the city as well as its neighboring cities and/or counties.


Single ride = $1.50

Day Pass = $5.00

7-Day Pass = $20.00

30-Day Pass = $75.00

Buying a TAP Card and/or Pass

There are two ways to buy a TAP card or a Transit Access Pass card: on the bus or at the subway station. After a usually long flight of stairs or escalators, you will find the TAP vending machines before you cross the turnstiles. Purchase your TAP card here for $1 and add your fare following the directions provided by the machine. Once you have successfully loaded your pass, go to the turnstiles and tap your card on the blue TAP target. If you are changing from one train to another, you have to tap your card again at the next station where you’ll be making your connection.

Further information: How to Load a TAP Card, How to Buy a 1-Way Ride


Here are some common (and unwritten) rules when riding our subway:

  • The single seat next to the subway car’s doors are reserved for the elderly, pregnant women, disabled passengers. Regardless if you’re sitting anywhere else and you see someone having a hard time riding the subway car while standing up, please be the bigger person and give up your seat.
  • Do not block the left side of the escalator unless you want to be shouted at by someone trying to catch his next train or who is trying to make it to work on time.
  • Do not blast your music please. Even if you are wearing headphones.
  • Be aware of your backpack or any other object taking anyone else’s space.
  • Speaking of personal space, respect it!

The Lines

Red Line | Universal City – Hollywood – Downtown Los Angeles

The red line is the best line to check off everything on your to-do list. You can check out Universal Studios and Universal City Walk from one end, stop at the Hollywood & Highland Station to walk on the Walk of Fame, then hang out at historic Downtown Los Angeles. To see all of this in one day, buy the day pass for unlimited rides until 3am the next day.

Blue Line | Downtown Los Angeles (7th Street/Metro) - Long Beach

From the red line, one can head down to Long Beach via the 7th Street/Metro Station. Unlike the Red Line and the Purple Line, the Blue Line is above ground which can give you a good view of LA is really like. You’ll pass by the Staples Center, L.A. Live, and the LA Convention Center while in DTLA. As you go further south, you’ll go through South LA (formerly known as South Central LA), Watts, and Compton. After about an hour, you’ll arrive at Long Beach where you can walk down the marina or hang out on the sand.

Tip: Make sure you board the subway train heading to Long Beach. If you happen to board the one heading towards Willow, exit at Willow and wait for the train heading down to Long Beach Transit Mall.

Green Line | Norwalk – LAX connection – Redondo Beach

Within LA, the Green Line can be accessed via the Blue Line at the Willowbrook Station. You’ll pass through Crenshaw, take the free shuttle bus to Los Angeles International Airport, or head down to Redondo Beach.

Further Information: Metro Green Line to LAX 

Expo Line | Downtown Los Angeles (7th Street/Metro) – USC – Culver City 

The Expo Line is the newest subway line which finally connects DTLA far west with planned service all the way to Santa Monica Beach by 2015. (I’m excited too.)

In the mean time, this line goes down to the University of Southern California. I recommend checking out the campus as the university always makes sure that its landscaping is lush. As you head further west, you’ll pass Crenshaw and finally stop at the Culver City station.

Purple Line | Downtown Los Angeles (Union Station) – Wilshire/Western

The purple line is the shortest line from its brothers. If you happen to head toward the Wilshire/Western Station, I recommend taking this line rather than the busy (and overcrowded) red line. You’ll pass through Koreatown and a part of the Wilshire Blvd. area; its last station is the Wilshire/Western Station which is right across The Wiltern where you can watch a concert. Fortunately, there are plans of extending the Purple Line all the way to the Westwood/UCLA area.

Other Lines

If you have more time in the LA area or just want to check out what else the city has to offer, we also have the Gold Line which connects East LA to Downtown LA to Pasadena; and the Orange Line which begins from the Red Line’s North Hollywood Station all the way toward Chatsworth or the Ventura County line.

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3 thoughts on “Using the LA Metro Subway

  1. Pingback: Two Sides of a Coin | Travel Los Angeles

  2. Hi Paula! Literally a day after I read/re-blogged your article I decided to try the metro system out for myself :) My post is more of a personal experience entry than a super informative one like yours, but I thought you might like to check it out: . Hope all is well with you and your blog! –Sarah from

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