Taking taxis in LA?

This week I’m going to LA for the first time, by myself. People in LA: if I’ll only be there for about a day (getting in Friday afternoon, leaving Sunday afternoon) is it worth it to rent a car, or is getting a taxi fairly easy? I’ll be in the Burbank/Studio City area with one jaunt to Hollywood. I’m under 25, and I’ve heard it is really hard to find a place to rent you a car if you are under that age, and either way I’d like to avoid having to park and drive in LA. I’m not super worried about the price because I’m used to paying New York cab fares. Two of my friends that I’m visiting have cars and are willing to pick me up, but I won’t be with them the entire time, so I’m trying to work out an alternative.

Also, is there anything fun to do in that area if you’re alone, especially in the mid-day? That’s the only time I’ll be by myself and I’d like to spend it doing something rather than sitting in the hotel room.


Maybe things have changed in the 12 years since I lived in LA, but I can’t imagine anyone taking a taxi in LA.

In the Studio City /Burbank area you have tons of stuff to do. Ventura Boulevard around Laurel Canyon and west for 5 miles is interesting, check out Riverside Drive in Burbank, the NoHo district near Lankershim & Magnolia, Universal Studios and City Walk are close. Take the Metrorail from North Hollywood to Hollywood, drive down Sunset Blvd, drive on Mulholland Drive (you can see the San Fernando Valley on one side and the LA Basin on the other), go to Griffith Park, the observatory is there…you might notice that much of this requires either a car or a friend to drive. A taxi might be an alternate, but far from my first choice.

Just wait til Johnny LA gets here…

I can sympathize trying to rent a car if you’re under 25. I was unable to do that in Hollywood years ago in spite of having rented cars all over the country before that (but that might have been because I offered cash). All I can suggest is check it out beforehand.

The biggest problem with taking a cab to get around is that they generally take a long time to show up. It’s not like some major cities where there are dozens cruising around and you just hail one that’s passing. Unless you’re downtown or at LAX you’re going to have to call and then wait 30 minutes for one to arrive.

That’s because there’s only one cab in LA, and he is often taking a nap in El Segundo. :slight_smile:

No one has said it, but the biggest problem with taxis in LA is the traffic. It can take a long time to go a short distance.

Fun at mid-day in the Burbank/Studio City area? You might look at picking up the subway in North Hollywood and exploring down town that way. You can go to Universal Studios, Union Station, Alvera St., the county art museum. Any number of attractions provided you want to walk a bit away from the subway line.

Alamo will rent you a car at the Burbank Airport; they just charge an extra $25/day for being under 25.

Not true at all. I rented a car in L.A. before I was 25 (which was not that long ago). It was pretty easy actually. As someone else mentioned, they charge a “high risk” surcharge if you are in the age range of 21-25 (but it’s usually reasonable, shop around). There are a couple companies who will even rent to the 18-21 bracket for a greater surcharge, though most are 21+.

Honestly, L.A. traffic can get pretty congested but it’s not the craziest city in the world (or even in the U.S.) to drive in. It’s not hard to get a taxi, although you have to call them up - it’s not like you can just wave your hand on the street as in NYC. But keep in mind L.A. is a vast sprawl spread over a huge area, so taxis (which charge by the mile) can get really expensive really fast.

As far as what to do - what are your interests? Of course there’s a standard list of touristy stuff people generally do but IME a more targeted approach is usually more fulfilling.

And if you want to grab lunch or do some sightseeing with a native, send me a PM. I’ve got a busy schedule but I should be free next Thursday, as well as over the weekend. I have a car too so you wouldn’t have to pay a taxi. :slight_smile:

I agree you should check out the subway. There is a line that goes through Burbank that goes through Hollywood to get downtown. Much faster and easier than the bus or taxi, and probably faster than by car too.

Check out the LA Metro website for info on getting around.

Taxis don’t roam the streets like they do in NY. You can’t just stand on the street and wave one over. Still, taxis have been an overall positive experience-- in the 7 years I’ve lived here, I telephoned for taxis about a dozen times and all arrived at my door in 10 minutes. The drivers were nice and not excessively talkative and drove quickly enough.

How long ago, exactly? Things have changed recently, and a lot. I remember renting cars from LAX when I was 24 just 4 years ago, and being able to rent while under 25 and using a debit card, as opposed to a credit card. I pre-paid my reservation online with my debit, and paid their exorbitant $25/day under-age fee, no problem. Fast forward to whole months later, and I go back to the same rental car place --not just the same company, but the same Alamo at LAX-- and was unable to rent a car. I was like, wtf? “I rented a car from you guys less than a year ago” but nobody was having it. I’m old now, so this doesn’t come up, but hot damn that was frustrating.

It might have changed back, though. This economy has made people crazy. I remember being hassled while checking into a hotel with a debit card, when previously it was not an issue, outside of some business about them holding $50/night or some such for incidentals. Then a year later, back to the old way. I rent cars and check into hotels with a credit card now just to avoid the hassle, but anyway, the point of this rambling post is what may have been the case “not that long ago” may not be the case now.