Pasadena is a city north of Los Angeles that is known best for the Rose Bowl, a famous football stadium. Pasadena also has many other attractions that draw in visitors from neighboring areas and keep life vibrant for residents. To support these visitors and residents, Pasadena has spent years developing different ways for people to get around the city.
Pasadena, California has an extremely well-developed public transportation system. The first part of the system is the Metro Bus that ties Pasadena to Los Angeles. Rail lines and shuttles help to bridge gaps in areas that are not covered by existing bus lines.
With such a strong public transportation system, you can be assured of being able to travel the city without having to bring a car along with you. This can help you to reduce your impact on the environment and avoid standstill Los Angeles traffic. Below, I have included some tips that will help you maximize public transit during your next trip.
How to Ride the Metro Bus
The Metro Bus is one of the original forms of public transportation in Pasadena. There are several different bus lines operated by the Metro company but only one of them, the Gold Line, offers service in Pasadena. There are 6 stations within the city. These are Fillmore, Del Mar, Memorial Park, Lake, Allen, and Sierra Madre Villa. The line connects to LA Union station to the south.
The Gold Line comes up from the south before turning east and following Walnut Street. This line runs right through the heart of the city but doesn’t extend to any of the outlying areas. It is best used as a way to get to downtown Los Angeles and the Metrolink rail lines.
How to Ride the Local Bus
Pasadena has developed a series of local buses around the Gold Metro Line. Each of these buses costs $.75 to ride. You can purchase a ticket while boarding any of these buses. If you do so, make sure you have the exact change because drivers aren’t able to offer change.
An alternative option is to buy a TAP card. These cards can be loaded with fare and used while traveling. A benefit to these cards is you can transfer between any of the local buses during the next 2 and half hours after your first ride for free.
Here are some popular destinations along each of the bus routes.
- Route 10: Central route providing access to hotels and shopping areas like South Lake Avenue.
- Route 20: Provides access to four Gold Line Stations, as well as the Art Center College of Design.
- Routes 31 and 32: Near identical routes through residential areas, with the main stop at Bungalow Heaven.
- Route 40: Student-oriented line with stops at Caltech and Pasadena City College.
- Route 51: Sightseeing route with stops in Old Pasadena, the Rose Bowl, and Arroyo Seco.
- Route 52: Makes stops at Art College of Design (Hilltop) as well as the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
How to Use the Metrolink System
If you need to get to other parts of the LA Metro area, you will want to use the Metrolink system. Pasadena is conveniently located near the hub of the Metrolink rail network at the LA Union Station. To get there, you can ride the Gold Metro Bus until it makes its final stop at Union Station. If you have purchased any Metrolink Tickets online, you will be able to ride the bus for free as long as you present your ticket while boarding and riding to any Metrolink station.
How to Use the Airport Shuttles
If you are planning on flying while traveling to or from Pasadena, you might be wondering about the airport. There are two different airports that you are likely to use. The first is Los Angeles International Airport and the second is the Burbank Airport (sometimes known as the Bob Hope Airport). While there are some differences in how you will get to both of these airports, there are shuttles that will take you to both of them.
If you need to get to or from the LAX airport, you will need to use the FlyAway shuttle. This shuttle can be boarded from the LA Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. You can get to this station by riding Metrolink or by riding the Metro Gold Line. Once at Union Station you will want to look for the FlyAway section in Bus Bay 1. You can board the shuttle here.
There are two options for tickets for this shuttle. If you have a monthly Metroline rider pass you can show that and ride the airport shuttle for free. Otherwise, you will want to purchase a Metrolink Extension to LAX for $9.75. The shuttle will make stops at each of the airport terminals. The trip from Union Station to LAX will take around 30 to 50 minutes depending on traffic.
There is a slightly different process for getting to the Burbank Airport. To get to the Burbank airport, you will want to ride the Metrolink to one of two stations. The first station is the Burbank Airport – South Station. From this station, you are a short walk away from the Burbank Airport.
The other option is to ride Metrolink to the Burbank Airport – North Station. From here, you will call (818)-729-2245 and ask for a free shuttle pickup. The shuttle will pick you up from the north end of this station and take you the rest of the way to Burbank Airport. This shuttle runs every day from 5 am to 10 pm offering a wide range of hours of service.
How to Use the Bike Share Program
A new form of public transportation that has only become widespread in recent years is bike share programs. While you might have seen these in your city before, you might not recognize the name. Bike share is a common term for this form of transportation. Under these programs residents and visitors in a city gain access to bicycles that they can use to travel around the city.
However, instead of people having to provide their own bikes, the city, or more commonly a private company, will provide a collection of bikes and perform any maintenance on them. In exchange, they charge a small fee to any riders that use the bikes to help support the sharing program.
The bike share program in Pasadena is Metro Bike Share. This system provides bikes to Pasadena and neighboring cities in the Los Angeles metro area. Bikes are left at stations scattered around the city. To begin your ride, you need to find one of these stations. Once there you will be able to use the Metro app to unlock one of the bikes. You will be charged for every 30 minutes you are using the bike. Once you are done make sure to lock your bike at one of the stations around the city.
Another facet of this process is how you pay for it. You can buy a variety of passes depending on your needs. The most basic is a single-ride pass. This pass will cost you $1.75 to unlock the bike. After a half hour, you will be charged an additional $1.75 for each half hour you are riding. This is the best choice if you aren’t planning on riding regularly on just need a single-time trip.
You can also purchase a day pass if you plan on making multiple trips in one day. You will want to plan ahead before using this plan because it does require a higher upfront cost. It costs $5 to purchase a day pass. With this pass any ride under 30 minutes is free. For any rides that go over 30 minutes, you will be charged an additional $1.75 for every half hour over. This might seem like a worse option than the single trip, but if you make at least 3 half-hour rides during the day, this will end up being the cheaper option.
A tip to using the day pass is to keep track of your rides and keep all of them under a half hour each. What this means is if you need to make an hour-long trip, for example, once you have ridden for about a half hour, find the nearest bike station. As long as the bike is locked up before you go over a half hour, you won’t be charged any more money. What you can then do is unlock the bike immediately and begin riding again for another half hour. By doing this, you can ride for an hour for free as long as you are conscientious of your ride time.
Here are some other things to keep in mind while using the city bike share program. First, you should always wear a helmet while riding one of these bicycles. While riding, it is important that you obey all of the city’s traffic rules. If you are riding on the road, make sure you have plenty of space between you and any cars and clearly signal when you are planning on turning or slowing down. As long as you follow these basic rules, the bike share program is a great way to get out and around the city.