By Pleres Choi
Believe it or not, Los Angeles does have a train system. Within LA, there is the light rail (mostly) underground metro system, and, for those who must commute from outside LA, there is Metrolink. If you ever need to use Metrolink, I would suggest packing a whole lot of patience and your smartphone (with your social media apps in tow); because, the truth is, your time will always be at the mercy of this public transportation option.
This summer was the first time I’ve had to commute daily to work using Metrolink, “Southern California’s premier regional passenger rail system.” My daily starting point always began at the Buena Park station and my final stop at Union Station in L.A., giving me approximately thirty minutes inside the train. But, when the train would arrive at Buena Park and, consequently, when I would arrive at Union Station was an entirely different matter, and unfortunately completely out of my hands.
According to my summer experience, I learned that you have to be incredibly forgiving and flexible with your time. My train frequently arrived late at Buena Park, anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour late. We commuters had no idea when such a delay would occur, although many of us soon learned to usually expect at least some delay. And yet, a daily commuter cannot ever risk the chance of herself/himself arriving even a minute late to the station, since Metrolink does warn that the train could arrive “up to five minutes ahead of schedule” (though obviously not too frequently).
It doesn’t end here. When I use the Metrolink to commute from L.A. to home, it happens to be incredibly precise with its schedule, leaving Union Station exactly on time, unforgiving of a few extra minutes. Of course, this is Metrolink simply doing its job right. But there have been more than a few times when I sprinted to the train as fast as my legs would allow, only to have its doors shut in my face for having arrived fifteen seconds too late. During these times, I think to myself, “if only you were so punctual when coming to pick me up!!!”
So…why then do I still choose to commute to L.A. with Metrolink, you may ask.
Continue reading The Commuter Life: Riding Metrolink