The Metro subway starts from downtown Union Station and runs to North Hollywood. Literally traveling underground, it stops at 12 different stations, including MacArthur Park, Hollywood and Vine, and Universal City. [see map below]

This subway system hooks into two other Metro train lines and the Metro Bus system. Metro Blue Line and Metro Green Line are train routes that run all the way to Long Beach and Redondo Beach, respectively. Metro Busses run all over town. The Gold line from Pasadena is coming this summer.

map courtesy of

Construction of the subway began in the late 80s, and while the first leg opened in 1993, this North Hollywood section just opened in 2000. Ever since it was announced, there has been a pervasive and skeptical attitude about a Los Angeles subway. Everything from earthquake dangers, to Southern Californians not giving up their cars, to noise and vibration, to excessive expense, all the signs seemed to indicate that it would not work.

Perhaps that impacted our initial expectations.

This was Megan's first subway ride ever, and she was excited, and a bit nervous. Maybe she was picking up my vibe. Dianne and I have both used New York City's efficient, but rather intimidating subway system. And we've had experiences on the Bay Area Rapid Transit and Washington D.C.s Metro, which are both very well done. I was a probably a bit more uncertain. I was bracing myself for something that felt unsafe, unsavory and a bit scary. We were all pleasantly surprised.

From the street level, [below] the NoHo station is very subdued, with a series of colorful archways rising up out of a large parking lot.

Nicely placed maps and directories guided us down an escalator, to the level below. This station is very modern and clean, and beautifully done. Unlike many of the gritty and grimy stations in New York City, we observed no graffiti, no trash, and no extraneous people hanging about. It was really nice.

The escalator drops off into a large, bustling space where tickets are purchased. [below]

No MTA staff members selling tickets, just 10 ATM-like kiosks. [above] The easy-to-use menus allow riders to choose a one-way ticket for $1.35, or a round trip ticket for $2.70. Good all day. After a little trouble with one machine [it ate $2.00], we were able to purchase three round-trip tickets.

There are no turn-styles or gates to get to the trains, ticket purchases are made on an 'honor system.' No kidding. Apparently, random checks are made on the train, and a passenger who is without a ticket, can be fined $250.00.

The station architecture is very economical, and well done. In this station, tile murals have been placed throughout. One [below] features Amelia Earhart, a tip of the hat to the valley's aviation connection.

[Run your cursor over the image to see additional detail]

Down another escalator to the train platform.

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