I was on a commuter train – in Los Angeles. I kept repeating these words to myself as the Metrolink
light rail whisked me through East LA, the city's underwhelming skyline in the distance. Union Station was the next stop and terminus. From there I'd gawk at the station's interior, in all its Art Deco beauty, and then hop on the red line to Thai Town.
Yes, that's right: the subway. The Los Angeles Metro Rail
, as it's called, consists of six lines, all named by color, that snake through the greater Los Angeles area, mostly above ground but, as in the case of the line I took, the red line, underground as well. An Angelino can now travel from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach. And that's just the Metro Rail. There's also the Metrolink, which goes even further afield and has been running since 1992.
Until recently, "public transportation" and "Los Angeles" seemed like antonyms, antipoles that were part of two different worlds. There are cities all over the planet with functioning rapid transit systems, subways and monorails and trains; and then there was Los Angeles, which seemed to exist outside the sphere of normal cities, an exception to the rule where cars reigned on the road and the most popular form of self expression was found on one's vanity plate or personalized license plate.