Getting Around In Los Angeles

Distances in Los Angeles are quite far, thus walking is a limited option.

I have summarized a few transportation options which can be considered by LL.M. students.


  • Depending on where you are studying owning a car can make life a whole lot easier for any person in the US. In Los Angeles especially, I recommend to get a car for multiple reasons: – You are very fexible and make the most of your free time and simply be spontaneous;
    – It can be safer than public transport (I’ve had my fair share of uncomfortable experiences
    when using the Metrobus system);
    – It definitely makes grocery shopping much easier and whenever it’s moving time, a car
    comes in handy;
    – Getting to campus and home, in particular, if you live off-campus;

    That being said, there are a few downsides that might not be obvious to a foreigner who has never been to LA:
    – Traffic can be insane at times, but then again, that applies to almost any means of
    – Parking is a headache in Los Angeles, sometimes it can take as long to find parking (for
    free) and is expensive;
    – You will need to get a CA drivers license and will have to register your vehicle with DMV;
    – Car insurance can get quite expensive – installments depend where you live!
  • Rideshare COMPANIES
    Why a car when there are companies like Lyft and Uber? Over the course of a year costs will pile up. Rides can take quite long, especially in traffic and therefore single rides can become pretty expensive.
    If you happen to attend a school you reach easily by public transportation or campus shuttles, registering for a plan to rent a car for a short term could be of interest to you.
    Before you pay for a plan, make sure there are plenty of Zipcar availabilities in your area where you live. I used Zipcars a couple of times, but often, especially the cheaper cars were reserved quite long in advannce which made it inconvenient to use it spontaneously.
    I think it might be the best option for day or weekend trips as there is a cap on the maximum costs for the day and if you share it with friends it can be an economic way to explore the area.
    There’s always that option.
    Renting a car though is way too expensinve over the course of an entire semester, at least it was for me. Unless you share it or don’t mind spending a lot of money, that might not be the option for you.


Yes, Los Angeles has a Metro system and yes, it’s not that great.
At the moment, the planned extensions of the purple line are still in the works and so looking at the metro grid makes it clear that many areas aren’t covered. If you go to USC and live in the areas of DTLA, Koreatown or Hollywood and the subway stops are conveniently located, meaning close to your apartment, then taking the metro and buying a metro pass should be considered. Even living in Santa Monica would enable you to take the Expo line straight to the law school. The law building is right across from the school which makes it only a short walking distance.
Take a look at the metro system and decide whether it makes sense for you to use the public transportation system. I do want to say that some lines (for example the red line) can get sketchy in the evening and at night. So, if you attend an evening class you probably want to choose a rideshare to get home.

Map from

BUS (Metro-bus & Santa Monica BlueBus)

The Bluebus system in West LA is very convenient and it’s also quite safe from my experience. It’s great to reach UCLA. When I attended UCLA, I relied on the Bluebus infrastructure coming from Westwood.
The Metro bus is operated by the city of LA and not Santa Monica. Although I’ve used it, I wouldn’t recommend it, at least not later in the evening or at night.
Also, keep in mind that UCLA for instance, has a so-called Flashpass which you can purchase at the campus’ transportation office. It costs about 60$ and is a pass for using Bluebus for an entire semester. If you get on a Metro bus you have to pay extra!


UCLA, for instance, has various campus shuttles that connect students between university facilities which is a great way to get around this huge campus. Walking distance at UCLA from one end to another can easily take 30 minutes and don’t forget one way is going uphill. Therefore, the shuttles are used by a lot of students and run frequently.
USC is a smaller campus and doesn’t have any shuttles.
It really depends on the school’s size and infrastructure but definitely a convenient way to get around at school.


Visit the school’s transportation website. For more information for USC students click here.


Visit the school’s website for more information for USC students.