Skip to main content

Your Guide to the Los Angeles Metro Light Rail

Your Guide to the Los Angeles Metro Light Rail

Become a Los Angeles Metro wizard with these tips and tricks on how to best get around on the light rail. Team


4 min read

May 09, 2023

For both visitors and new residents, Los Angeles can be an intimidating city to explore. The legendary traffic often lives up to its name and the vastness of the city can be overwhelming at first. One of the best ways to explore and get to know the city, while simultaneously avoiding the need to drive, is to make use of the Los Angeles metro. The expansive light rail system will have you zipping all over the city with ease and security. Let us smooth your journey with all the tips and tricks you will need to efficiently utilize the Los Angeles metro! 

Why Ride Metro?

Besides avoiding the crowded freeways of the city, the Los Angeles metro is the perfect tool for anyone exploring the city on a budget or wanting an environmentally friendly alternative mode of transportation. California is often lauded as a leading state for innovative programs and Los Angeles is at the heart of that reputation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the city had a two-year period of free metro bus rides for everyone. The test program has come to an end, and bus rides are no longer free, but the current fare system is being updated to be even more affordable. 

Recomended businesses

Show me
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.

Understanding Fares

At the end of 2022, Los Angeles approved moving to a fare cap system that will be taking effect in late 2023. Luckily for all riders, Los Angeles metro tickets will be 50% off across the board until the system change is in place! Here are the current rates for 2023 (including the 50% discount): 

  • 1-Way Trip: $1.75
  • 1-Day Pass: $3.50
  • 7-Day Pass: $12.50
  • 30-Day Pass: $50

When a single ride-share or taxi ride can cost as much as a 30-Day Pass, it’s no wonder why the metro can be such a great financial option! Once the new fare cap system is in place, trips within both a daily and weekly span will be charged up to the cap, after which all rides will be free for the rest of the day or week (depending on which situation applies). Base rates will stay the same at $1.75, while the daily and weekly caps will be $5 and $18, respectively. Due to the new system, 30-Day Passes will no longer be sold. 

In certain situations, you may qualify for even more savings! Seniors older than 62, college students, and people with disabilities can all save up to 80%. Los Angeles metro has also partnered with many of the local K-12 schools for completely free rides with the GoPass. To check whether your school is part of the program or if any of the other savings apply to you, visit the Metro website.

A TAP card will get you anywhere you need to go.

How to Pay

The best way to pay for your Los Angeles metro tickets is to buy a refillable TAP card. They are sold at every single light rail stop and can be reloaded at the point of purchase, by downloading the TAP app, over the phone at 866.827.8646, or online at Most importantly, while Metro buses still accept exact change, the light rail can only be paid for with a TAP card. Grab one before your first ride and load it up with enough funds to cover your travel plans! When you’re boarding, make sure to remember to hold your TAP card against the turnstile or payment terminal to avoid ruining your trip with a hefty fine.

The Los Angeles Metro map will be your guide to exploring this city.

Routes and Operating Hours

With exactly 100 stations, six routes, and two Bus Rapid Transit lines extending the light rail system, almost any destination or exciting LA neighborhood can be reached on a Los Angeles metro line. For most lines, the Lost Angeles metro hours are from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m., with an extra hour (until 2 a.m.) on Friday and Saturday nights. Regardless of what time you are riding, employ the basic public transit safety and etiquette practices to make your experience as smooth as possible. 

The six light rail lines cover all cardinal directions and can take you from the heart of downtown to the surrounding valley communities and even the beach! The general area covered by each Los Angeles metro line is as follows: 

  • Metro A Line (Blue): Downtown to Long Beach
  • Metro B Line (Red): Downtown to North Hollywood
  • Metro C Line (Green): Redondo Beach and Norwalk
  • Metro D Line (Purple): Downtown to Koreatown
  • Metro E Line (Expo): Downtown to Santa Monica
  • Metro L Line (Gold): East Los Angeles to San Gabriel Valley

For those who prefer a visual guide for their travels, Metro has created a nicely condensed Los Angeles metro map. In addition, Transit, the official Metro app, is a wonderful tool for planning your trips, checking arrival times, and much more. Though the Los Angeles metro cannot get you far outside the city, it can be used to link to the Pacific Surliner if you’re itching to travel longer distances on a train. In the rare situation the light rail is too far from your destination, the Los Angeles metro buses have over 165 routes, which you can use to complete your journey.

The reach of the Los Angeles Metro is wide and can be a perfect way to get around the city.

Best Light Rail Destinations 

Curious to see the famous sights of Los Angeles? The Red and Expo lines of the light rail are your best friend! Daydream of being the next Hollywood star by using the Red Line to visit classic destinations such as Universal Studios Hollywood and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hop off at the Universal City Station for direct access to the Studios or from Hollywood/Highland Station to find your favorite actor or actress immortalized in the stars. Lovers of the outdoors can make the short hike, or cheat with a quick bus ride, to the Griffith Observatory from the Vermont/Sunset Station. 

The Expo line will have you covered on all attractions from downtown to the ocean! Throw on your finest purple and gold to catch a Lakers game from Pico Station. Head west for an array of entertainment, all available directly across the Expo Park/USC Station. Attractions include the USC campus, Exposition Park Rose Garden, Natural History and California African American museums, and the California Science Center. 

Finally, end your day by riding the Expo line to the very end, where you can end your day in style from the Downtown Santa Monica Station. Catch a classic Californian sunset or explore the Santa Monica Pier, which features both an amusement park and an aquarium. No matter where you choose to take the Los Angeles Metro light rail, you are sure to have a delightful adventure!

Disclaimer: does not receive any kind of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

Need help with a home improvement project? Get a free quote today!

Enter Your Zip Code

Enter Your Zip Code

RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We're committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that's just the beginning…
Purpose section
Purpose section