How do I get to your theater using transit?
Internet driving directions have been available for over a decade now. MapQuest is a bit old school and Yahoo Maps picked it up a bit, but it seems Google Maps are everywhere now. They are in our browsers, in stand alone programs, embedded on everyone’s website and a feature on our phones. If you don’t have an iphone or android you might have a GPS instead or you might have all of these. In the car dominated roads of Los Angeles you might even be so old school as to have a Thomas Guide in the pocket behind your passenger seat.
So, if I can Google any address and get step by step directions with an estimation of transit time from any other location, print it out, text it to myself or email it my smart phone (if I didn’t look it up there to begin with) and plug it into my GPS to have a robot speak turn by turn directions to me and show me live traffic conditions, WHY do so many theaters give me such detailed directions on their website?
These detailed directions from the north, south, east or west are general and don’t take into account alternatives if traffic is bad or a road is under construction. They aren’t necessary. Maybe, if you have parking (who has ample parking?) you want me to know how to get into it, but I don’t need directions from Pasadena to your parking lot or to know that the neighborhood behind your theater is permitted for one block south of Melrose. You just need to tell me where to park if I drive.
What would be useful? Transit directions. There are over a dozen transit agencies in the area: Metro, Culver City Bus, the Big Blue Bus, Burbank Bus, Foothills Transit, Santa Clarita Transit, etc. and they operate local buses, rapid buses, commuter buses, subway, light rail and heavy rail. It’s confusing to try and get around on the buses. But with traffic, the fluid cost of gasoline, and the expense of parking, wouldn’t it be great to know how to get to your theater without a car? And how to get back home.
I’m not asking for you to give me full details, but maybe a list of the buses that come within a quarter mile or even a half a mile of your theater. Unless you’re tucked in the hills or back in a nieghborhood I can only imagine that there are buses passing by regularly and that you may be lucky enough to be close to a metro rail stop! I know for a fact the theaters on Santa Monica, that is to say Theater Row, get radio interference from the buses passing by.
Google does now offer walking and transit directions. Metro, the largest such agency in LA, is not on Google Transit yet (Burbank is though), but they are in talks to be up soon(ish?). That might solve a portion of this issue. And if you can find a bus that goes nearby you can get the walking instructions. Hopefully, with the passing of Measure R, we will see even more convenient and extensive transit options.
But, until we all know the bus system, the subway gets to Santa Monica and we can get bus by bus instructions for transit on Google or our tom tom, why not make it easy for me to get there? Maybe I’ll have to get there a little earlier and stay a little later to catch my desired bus. Maybe I’ll have a couple drinks from concessions cause I don’t have to worry about driving and I don’t have to pay for parking or the valet for the restaurant down the street. And maybe I’ll even stick around the area for a while and help with the local feeling by eating nearby in a walkable restaurant or kill some time in a local shop. Best of all I’ll arrive without any road rage and be more open and excited about the show.