I have branded myself at the University of La Verne as the public transportation guru. This is due to my hatred for traffic as well as the close proximity of my favorite method of alternate transportation.
The Metrolink is one of the fastest and most comfortable ways to travel between downtown Los Angeles and San Bernardino. Operating seven days a week, it proves to be an optimal way to travel, and so, so easy to do once you get the hang of a few basic concepts.
If you have never used trains, you may be hesitant because of the unknown. Rest assured, all questions have answers, and some popular inquiries are listed below.
Where is the nearest Metrolink platform in La Verne? How do I get there?
The nearest station to the University of La Verne is in Pomona (north), just under two miles away. It is located at 205 Santa Fe Street, Pomona Calif. 91767, and to get here, head east on Bonita for 1.4 miles, turn right on Garey for 0.2 miles, then turn right on Santa Fe Street, and you find yourself in the parking lot.
Once you arrive here, it becomes evident through the high volume of parked cars that commuting via Metrolink is a popular choice for many in the area already. So why is it that when I ask fellow students at ULV if they ride it, I receive blank stares? We are required to take an internship while in undergrad, and many students travel closer to Los Angeles, so are they not aware that the train is an option? Are they intimidated by the unfamiliarity? Are they unwilling to part with their cars? Or are they unsure what to do when they get into Union Station?
There are lots of questions, but also lots of answers (to Metrolink questions, at least). Here are some of them:
How do I purchase tickets?
There are numerous ways to purchase Metrolink tickets, namely by machine, located at the Pomona station. The ticket machines are almost too easy to operate:
1) Select origin and destination
2) Select the type of ticket (hold on, explanation coming soon)
3) Select the number of tickets you want
4) Select your payment option: machines take cash, American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and debit card. Score!
5) Pay via said payment selection
6) Get the ticket and receipt!
What are these ticket types you mentioned in step #2?
Riders may purchase tickets for one way, round trip, 10 trips, and monthly passes. There are a few things to consider when choosing the best purchase for your schedule. For instance…
How do I purchase one-way tickets?
As the clever title would suggest, these tickets are to be used for one trip and one trip only. When you buy the ticket, you have the ability to choose which station you are heading to, as the fares vary by distance (Union Station is the last stop, so it is the most expensive). These tickets are valid within three hours of buying them, so if you’re looking to stay at your destination or have a ride back later, this is the ticket for you!
Sample fare: one way from Pomona (north) to Union Station (LA);
$3.75 youth weekend
How do I purchase round trip tickets?
Same three hour limit as the one-way ticket, and the returning trip must be taken on the same day. Ideal for commuting during high traffic times, such as heading west to LA in the morning and returning east in the afternoon/evening rush hour(s).
Sample fare: round trip from Pomona (north) to Union Station (LA):
$6.75 youth weekend
How can I purchase 10-day trip tickets?
These work as ten separate one-way tickets, and are conveniently packaged in one plastic-like ticket. The 10-trip tickets don’t have to be used in 10 consecutive days; you have 90 days to travel. Something cool about these tickets: they don’t have to be used by the same person. If you are traveling with a friend, you may use the one ticket, but it must be validated twice. What does this mean? Each trip must be validated by machine, which are located on all platforms. Much like those neat parking self-validation machines in some grocery stores, you stick the ticket in and it writes the date. I highly recommend validating your ticket every time, though security isn’t strictly enforced. You could try to risk it, but mind you, conductors do occasionally come through the train to check tickets, and I doubt the cute “oh, I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware there was a validation machine, have mercy on my soul” will work.
Sample 10-trip tickets from Pomona (north) to Union Station (LA):
$60.75 regular fare
Can I purchase a monthly pass?
Yes! You get unlimited travel within this time, which is cool for the summer or for internships when people are heavily traveling for said internships. Purchasing these tickets requires a bit more effort than purchasing them at the station ticket booths. They are sold at Union Station from the 20th of the current month to the 10th of the new month, and must be signed to verify them. No validation machines required! While they’re non-transferable, they do pose the best value because, well, they’re unlimited, AND it makes the rider eligible for the Rail 2 Rail program.
Sample monthly fare from Pomona (north) to Union Station (LA)
Rail 2 Rail program: free for use with monthly Metrolink passes! This train line is the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, and goes from Oxnard to Oceanside.
What do I do after I get to my destination? Am I stranded?
No! With your purchase of a Metrolink ticket, you are entitled to a free ride on one additional Metro line. This means that if you take the Metrolink into Union Station, you can connect to a subway or bus line to bring you closer to where you need to go. Visit the Metro Website to view lines.
How do I get passes in Person
In addition to automatic vending machines, you can purchase tickets in person if you are a first timer and intimidated by the machines or the vast riding options. You can do so in La Verne at City Hall: 3660 D Street. Or you can purchase them at Union Station as well.
How do I get passes by Mail?
I don’t believe there should be anyone who opts for mail to deliver them...anything anymore, really. But wonders never cease, so Metrolink tickets may be sent through this primitive exchange system. Only 10-trip and monthly tickets may be purchased this way, and to do so, fill out a Metrolink “Pass By Mail” form, which you can get at any ticket outlet, by calling (800) 371-LINK, or printing it from metrolinktrains.com.
Lesley, I want to travel to somewhere besides Union Station. Options, please!
The additional stops on the San Bernardino line are as follows.
The Metrolink San Bernardino line includes 13 stops, including Union Station and San Bernardino (last or first stop, depending on which way you’re looking at it). Stations along this line include (from West to East):
Cal State LA
What is the schedule like?
As mentioned previously, the schedule fluctuates depending on day of the week. The standard schedule is from Monday through Friday, with trains running from 5:40 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. east and westbound. To calculate an exact schedule, click on the weekday schedule below, or visit the schedule on the Metrolink website.
How do I calculate fares for other stations, and for other ticket options?
Now that's a lot of information. To calculate fares for each location and ticket selection, go to the Metrolink Fare Calculator.
So that's the basics. Now that you've got the hang of it, look forward to future publications about how to get to great places in Southern California!
Lesley Michaels can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.