I grew up in Michigan and live in Southern California. Cars have been the central mode of transportation since I was born.
But we’re in the 21st century, and even in automobile strongholds, alternate forms of transportation are taking hold. One example of this comes from Los Angeles Football Club’s new home, Banc of California Stadium.
While at the game on Sunday, I heard employees telling random people outside the stadium over and over again “We don’t control the parking here!” And the reasons for their protestations were obvious, as parking cost an arm and a leg, something more in line with NFL prices than even the highest of MLS parking rates.
Still, that’s the drawback of being an urban stadium. There isn’t 10 acres of parking lots just sitting there like at Chavez Ravine. Only so many cars can park near The Banc, and so it’s little surprise the team has emphasized alternate transit modes to get to and from games.
I tried two of these methods for the first home game, and lived to tell the tale. Here’s my guide on taking the Metro and going rideshare for the LAFC game.
Taking the Metro to Banc of California Stadium
The cheapest method, other than using a bicycle or walking to the stadium, is to take the Metro. You can take a one-way trip with unlimited transfers for $1.75, which all things considered is a very good deal.
As someone who has been on the Metro before but not a lot, the one thing that makes me most nervous about public transit in general is figuring out when to make transfers, when to get off, how to read the maps. I have more embarrassing stories about getting turned around on public transit routes than I care to admit.
But here’s the thing: If you use LAFC’s app and hit the Metro button on it, it tells you exactly what you need to do. I ended up taking three trains on my route: The Gold Line from my home station, the Red Line at Union Station, and then the Expo/Blue Line to Expo Park. The app clearly spelled out what I needed to do on each train, and I was confident enough that strangers were asking me where the train was going and I could authoritatively tell them.
I have to hand it to LAFC for making that Metro integration on the app, it honestly saved so much grief by having the full route spelled out. If you are not a Metro expert, I would definitely recommend using it.
The drawbacks to taking the Metro to the game? All told, my trip, which was about eight miles, took an hour. I think we all know that the trek to sporting events take time, whether it’s to park or taking mass transit or whatever. But the trains weren’t that busy on the day, and it took an hour, something I was prepared to do, especially considering the cheap price. If it’s a busy time, it could take quite a bit longer, so plan accordingly.
The other thing is if, like me, you transfer, make sure you pay attention to the signs to get to your next train. I’m bad at directions and I found some of the maps and signs a bit confusing, but I found where I needed to be. At one point, in Union Station I walked up and around the station, mostly underground, a couple times and was disoriented, but again, I ended up in the right spot. Make sure you pay attention to your route so you don’t end up at the beach or whatever and have no idea where you’re going.
And bear in mind, from where you get off the Expo Line, you’re going to have to walk a little over half a mile to get to the actual stadium, through Exposition Park. If walking even that much is an issue, you may want to consider other methods of transportation.
Would I take the Metro again to the LAFC game? Absolutely.
Taking a rideshare home from the game
Since I took the Metro to the game, I decided to try a different method home, so I went with Lyft. LAFC has a partnership with Lyft, where you get dropped off and picked up from a designated spot, so I checked it out.
I got to said designated spot after the rush, shortly before they looked like they were closing shop for the night. They appeared to serve pizza, although I missed it (just my luck) and had charging stations for phones, which was useful since waiting around with the app after ordering a ride can take awhile and sucks battery power.
The pickup spot was the corner of Lot 6, and again, map-challenged me took awhile to figure out where I needed to be on the map provided on LAFC’s app. The spot had about a dozen Lyft employees — a few were helpfully calling out names when Lyfts arrived for those waiting, a few were directing traffic to keep the spot orderly, a few were helping out with ordering rides and there were some folks kind of hanging out at that point in the night. At one point while I was there, an employee and an Uber driver who happened upon the spot almost got into a fight. It was weird, and fortunately no actual blows were exchanged. Other than that, it was calm and collected.
I took the cheaper option of splitting a Lyft, and of course ended up with another person who was at the game, a member of the Cuervos who stood in The 3252 during the game. We chatted about the game during the ride, he was dropped off first, then my turn. The ride was uneventful and convenient.
I was charged a little under $20 for the ride, so it wasn’t nothing but obviously better than what parking would have cost. I did have to wait a good 25 minutes for my ride after my first driver canceled on me after noodling around Expo Park for awhile and appeared to give up, and then the trip itself was about 20 minutes, so not too bad on that front. And I think the fact that there was a pickup station that Lyft had set up made it comfortable to wait instead of standing alone in the dark in a random spot.
Would I take a Lyft again? Yes, but probably just for the trip home, as two trips would get pretty costly. Compared to finding and paying for parking, it’s worthwhile, and if you like to drink a lot at games (I do not), then it’s great because rideshare services are safer and more responsible than drunk driving. Also, if walking is an issue for you, then rideshare is definitely the best alternate option to driving yourself there.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!