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I am fully aware LA is based around the car and has limited public transport. But I'm planning to be there a few days and will not be able to drive a car of any kind.

I already have the airport journey covered and am looking what I can access on bus/Metro, this question is about journeys that can only be covered by car.

I've been there briefly once before and found taxis surprisingly hard to find, and in some cases when hired from the street, very unreliable. Are there any tips or pointers to finding one which will get me to my destination?

If necessary I am prepared to pay more to get a private car service, if that is an option (not sure that is the right term in the US, but something more upmarket than a regular taxi).

(As a side point, given the lack of taxis and foot traffic, is there a great reliance on designated drivers for transport to go to bars, clubs, etc?)


Follow-up: I ended up staying in Santa Monica instead, which is walkable; rented a bike for trips along the coast, and took the Big Blue bus to downtown LA for a day, which included a bus tour.

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4 Answers

You can look up the maps/schedules of the relatively new LA Metro System to check if they cover any of your routes.

Private car service in the US is referred to as limousine service. You can easily search for service providers in Los Angeles, and reserve one during your stay. Their rates are usually based on the duration or rental mileage.

Is a car rental an option? It'll be cheaper than a limousine, and clubbed with a GPS, can get you around per your convenience. Of course, if you are headed downtown or other crowded, tourist places, then you need to heed parking situations.

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Many thanks for pointers. I've clarified my Q - renting is not an option. –  e100 Apr 2 '12 at 18:36
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With regard to finding a cab, you can always phone to request a pickup, rather than trying to hail a cab on the street. The phone numbers for the licensed taxi companies can be found here.

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Where exactly are you staying in LA? I did use the public transport between Hollywood and Downtown (and it was not that bad - i just would have the buses expected to run more frequently), and it was not much worse than the car simply because cars and buses all get stuck in the same traffic, none of them is much faster or slower at the end.

Not sure about the taxis there, but i usually try to find one near shopping malls, public transport hubs, hospitals, tourist hot spots or near big office buildings - pretty much all the places you should avoid in case of a zombie apocalypse :)

see also If I visit Los Angeles, am I better off renting a car or not?

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Thanks for tips. I don't know exactly where I'll be staying yet. My question was intended for journeys not covered by Metro/bus, and I'ver edited it slightly. –  e100 Apr 4 '12 at 11:15
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Check out Uber. Once you install the app, you can get a driver to pick you up at your current location. Its Yelp reviews look pretty good.

The other alternative is to start adding a bunch of taxi companies to your contacts list, and tell them to pick you up at your current location.

If you're spending a few days there, you'd be better off just renting a car.

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