If I asked you to think of a city in California, you might think of Los Angeles or San Fransico, not Lancaster. While Lancaster is one of the largest cities in California, it is a bit out of the way, being to the northeast of Los Angeles. So, if you travel to Lancaster, will you be able to use public transportation?
Lancaster, California has a weak public transportation system. The city was designed to be used by car drivers and has only recently begun to incorporate other transportation options. For the options that they do offer, like their bus system, most are used to traveling to neighboring cities.
While the city doesn’t have the most robust public transportation system available, there are some options for visitors that don’t have access to cars. Here are some of the public transit options available in the city of Lancaster, California.
How to Ride the Bus
Buses are one of the most popular forms of public transportation. They are particularly useful for residents of a city but can also be used by visitors. Residents will generally pick a bus depending on how close it comes to their home or workplace. Visitors, on the other hand, tend to pick buses that go to their destinations.
With that in mind, here are some of the bus lines that you might be interested in while in Lancaster. It costs $1.50 for a one-time ticket to ride any of these buses. If you are making multiple trips, you can buy a four-hour pass for $2 or a day pass for $5.
- Route 9: This route is important because it connects both of the bus transit stations at Owen Memorial Park and Boulevard Station. Important stops are at the University of Antelope Valley, and the AV Fairgrounds.
- Route 12: Covers three different schools, AV College, University of Antelope Valley, and Lancaster High School.
- Route 1: Passes through both transit stations. It connects Lancaster to Palmdale.
- Line 50: Connects Lancaster to Lake Los Angeles.
How to Ride the Metrolink
While Lancaster is a large city, it is easy to feel like you are isolated from the other nearby cities while there. There are other neighboring cities in the Antelope Valley, but none of them compare to the cities just south of the mountains that ring the valley. It is around an hour-long drive using a car into the Los Angeles area from Lancaster. However, if this trip becomes a regular thing, it can quickly become expensive and put a lot of stress on your vehicle. This is where the Metrolink System comes into play.
In California, they have created a network of rail lines centered around Los Angeles. These rails help connect riders from outlying areas to downtown Los Angeles. Not only that, but they also allow people to travel between several different cities in Los Angeles and Orange County quickly and effectively. The Metrolink is set up in a way that you are able to travel quickly between these cities, avoiding the notorious California traffic. You can also swap between trains at no additional charge to you in order to reach your desired location.
First, we should determine where you can go from Lancaster by using Metrolink. The Metrolink has a station in Lancaster as well as in the neighboring city, Palmdale, as part of the Antelope Valley Line. By boarding the Metrolink at one of these stations, you can make your way through the mountains and into the cities in the next valley. The Metrolink line will run southwest through Santa Clarita before entering the Sun Valley area. From here, it is only a short ride to downtown Los Angeles. With LA being the Metrolink hub, you can keep traveling south or transfer to a train heading west or east.
To ride the Metrolink, you will need to buy a ticket. Tickets need to buy online before you ride. This is because the price of the ticket will depend on how far you ride on that trip. With that in mind, here are some destinations that you might be interested in, as well as an estimate of the ticket price and travel time.
The next major city along this line after Lancaster is Santa Clarita. This city is known for its amusement parks like Six Flags, but it is also considered to be the gateway to the valley and cities south of it. A trip to Santa Clarita will cost you $8.25 for a single trip or $16.50 for a round trip, and the trip will take just over 1 hour to complete.
Something to keep an eye out for is discounts on tickets. Metrolink will often offer discounted weekend day passes or cheaper passes during the summer or holiday seasons. Summer day passes can be as cheap as $15.
The next major stop after Santa Clarita is the downtown stop in Burbank. This stop is less about being a destination bringing in a lot of visitors and more about being an easy location to transfer between different forms of public transportation (more about that later). If you want to ride Metrolink to Santa Clarita from Lancaster, it will take 1 hour and 50 minutes. A ticket will cost $10.25 for a one-way trip and $20.50 for a day pass.
After Burbank, you will almost be at the Central LA Station. From this station, you are able to transfer to other Metrolink lines and travel to other locations within the Los Angeles and Orange County area. A trip to LA Union Station will cost you $11.50 or $23 respectively.
From Union Station, you can ride west, east, or south. Here are some destinations to keep in mind. Riding south into Anaheim will last 3 hours and will cost you $19.50 or $39, depending on your preferences. Riding to Northridge will cost you $13.50 or $27 and will take 3 hours and 10 minutes. A trip to the east to Riverside will cost you $16.75 or $33.50 and will take 4 hours and 10 minutes from Lancaster.
How to Use the Airport Shuttle
Another option for public transit is the fleet of airport shuttles. While Lancaster is a large city with two airports nearby, most people prefer to fly into the two larger airports near LA and then find their way up into Lancaster. If this is your plan, you might be wondering how you can get to Lancaster after flying into California, or you may need to make your way from Lancaster to the airport. Even if you have access to your own vehicle, it is always a pain to drive all the way to the airport and pay for potentially days of airport parking for your vehicle. Instead, you can use one of these shuttles and avoid this hassle altogether.
To use this shuttle, you must first figure out which of the airports you need to get to. If you need to get to or from the Burbank Airport (sometimes known as the Bob Hope Airport), you will want to disembark the Metrolink train at the Burbank station. Once there, you will want to call (818) 729-2245 a request a complimentary shuttle to the airport.
The shuttle will take you from the north end of the station to the airport, or vice versa. This shuttle runs every day of the week from 5 am until 10 pm. There is a Metrolink station right next to the airport, but to get there you need to ride to the LA Union station and ride back out along a different rail line, which is probably not worth the effort.
The other airport bus is the one that takes you to Los Angeles International Airport. To board this shuttle you will need to do two things. You will first need to be at the LA Union Metrolink Station. Second, you will need a Metrolink monthly pass in order to ride the shuttle. Once you arrive at the Union Station, you will need to walk over to Bus Bay 1.
Once there, you will look for the FlyAway bus. To board, you will need to show your monthly Metrolink pass. There will be a bus every 30 minutes during peak hours. The bus will take you past each of the terminals at the Los Angeles Airport. Make sure to keep an eye out so that you don’t miss your terminal.
If you do not have a monthly Metrolink pass, you can still use this shuttle. To do so, you will add an extension to your ticket to the LAX airport. This will add $9.75 to the cost of your ticket. Tickets and extensions can be purchased at Union Station with a credit/debit card, or with cash or credit at any other Metrolink station. The shuttle from LA Union Station to LAX typically takes 30 to 50 minutes depending on how bad the traffic is.
You may be wondering if public transportation in Lancaster, California is necessary. Well, it most definitely is! It allows residents and visitors to get around the city a lot faster, cheaper, and easier.