Hassle-Free Ways to Get to and From the Airport

Francois is an El Segundo free-lance writer.

Soon summer travelers will be heading for Los Angeles International Airport by car, bus, door-to-door van services and taxi--using the new congestion-free two-level road system, the upper level for departing passengers and ground level for arriving travelers. New international and domestic airline terminals have doubled the capacity of LAX's passenger-handling facilities.

Think back to the three-year construction period when--to avoid the horrendous airport traffic congestion--an unprecedented number of motorists used public transportation that connects LAX with many Southland communities. Many travelers were favorably impressed with this hassle-free way of getting to the airport. Best of all, bags and passengers were delivered to each airline terminal for quick curb-side baggage check-in.

But once the new facilities were completed, with everything functioning efficiently, particularly the double-decked road, travelers deserted airport bus and van services and returned to their cars.

Still, with the increase in automobiles, traffic flows with relative ease.

A Place to Park

Exceptions include peak travel times during the holidays when LAX runs out of public parking spaces. The world's largest airport parking complex, with more than 26,000 parking spaces, was inundated last year. Even private parking lots and garages near LAX were full. As a result, some passengers missed flights.

Department of Airport officials can't predict whether airport parking will be filled to capacity during peak periods this summer but they do know that LAX passenger volume jumped about 10% last year, and that upward trend is expected to continue at about the same rate in 1986.

So if you want to avoid the hassle, here is a list of scheduled bus/van services, and door-to-door van services to LAX and the communities they serve:

Scheduled Bus/Van Services

The Airport Bus, (213) 596-1662 or 855-1727, (714) 776-9210 or 581-5780, and (818) 796-9108--Orange County, Long Beach, Los Angeles/downtown and Wilshire District, Pasadena, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Universal City. Fares range from $6 one way and $10.80 round trip to $9.80 one way and $16.65 round trip, with children 5-11 half-fare and younger than 5 free.

FlyAway Bus, (818) 994-5554--San Fernando Valley. High frequency, with $1-a-day parking (15-day limit) available at FlyAway Bus Terminal, Woodley Avenue at Saticoy Street, Van Nuys Airport. Fares: $4.50 one way, $8 round trip; children 2-12, $2.25 each way, and children younger than 2 free.

Airport Coach, (800) 772-5299--Palm Springs, Ontario, Orange County, San Diego. Fares: $8 to $20; children 3-11 half-fare and younger than 3 free.

Airport Bus of Bakersfield, (805) 395-0635--Bakersfield area. Fares: $25 one way, accompanying spouse half-price; children 11-16 half-price, 10 or younger free when accompanied by adult.

Airport Lounge Cruiser, (714) 995-8610--Anaheim, Buena Park. Fares: $11 one way and $20 round trip; children $7.50 one way and $13 round trip, younger than 5 free.

Antelope Valley Airport Express, (805) 945-2529--Newhall, Palmdale, Lancaster. Fares: $10 to $18 one way, with reduced rates for additional family members; special rates for senior citizens.

Celebrity Airport Livery, (800) 235-3248 or (213) 278-2500--West Hollywood, Westwood, Santa Monica. Fare: $8.50 one way.

Fun Bus, (714) 635-1390-- Anaheim/Buena Park. Fares: Adults $8.75 one way and children $6.75, younger than 4 free.

Glendale/La Crescenta Air Van, (818) 240-5045--Glendale and Burbank. Fares: $15 one way and $5 each for additional passengers at same address; children younger than 10 no charge. (Also, door-to-door van service.)

Great American Stageline, (818) 991-9611 or (805) 449-1995--Woodland Hills, West San Fernando Valley, Ventura County. Fares: $7 to $16 one way; children 5-11 years half-fare, 4 or younger free.

Santa Barbara Airbus, (805) 964-7374--Santa Barbara, Buellton, Solvang. Fares: $10 to $22 one way for adults; $8 to $16 for children younger than 12, no charge for children younger than 2.

Sims Executive Van Service, (213) 971-8265--Santa Monica, downtown Los Angeles. Fares: $8 one way and children younger than 6 free.

Door-to-Door Van Services

Reservations are required for these home-to-airport services:

AirporTransportation, (714) 558-1411--Orange County area. Fares: $28 to $42 one way, $5 each for additional passengers at same address.

AM-PM Airporter Transit, (213) 947-3111--Whittier, Downey, Montebello. Fares: $26 to $28 one way, $5 for each additional passenger at same address; children younger than 5 free.

Golden Coachcraft Limo, (714) 990-8470--San Gabriel Valley, Pomona, Chino. Fares: $33 to $36 one way, $5 for each additional passenger at same address.

Green Flag Airport Shuttle, (714) 991-5660--Orange County area. Fares: $28 to $56 one way for as many as three passengers at same address.

Inland Express, (714) 989-4063--Ontario, Hemet, Victorville, San Jacinto, Sun City. Fares: $26 to $65, $5 for each additional passenger from same address; children 3 or younger free.

Marina Shuttle, (213) 417-1635--Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey. Fares: $6 one way, $1 for each additional passenger at same address.

Pacific Transit Shuttle, (213) 666-3034--Burbank, Pasadena, San Gabriel, San Fernando Valley Fares: $22.50 to $32.50 one way, $5 for each added passenger at same address; children 2 or younger free.

Southern California Coach, (714) 978-6415--Orange County, San Bernardino and Riverside. Fares: $30 to $50, including up to three people from same address for single fare.

Super Shuttle, (213) 777-8000--South Bay area, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, with wheelchair-lift van for handicapped (on request). Fares: $8 to $11 one way; children 2 or younger free.

Stagecoach, (714) 794-7791--Redlands, Yucaipa, Calimesa and Palm Springs area. Fares: $45 to $75 one way, $7 to $10 for each added passenger at same address.

Sky View Limo, (619) 568-0085 or (213) 459-1923--Palm Springs. Fares: $30.25 one way; children younger than 5 half-fare.

24-Hour Airport Express, (213) 694-8531, (714) 738-5106, 835-5871 or 631-7323--Orange County, West Covina and Montebello. Fares: $30 to $42 one way, $5 for each additional passenger at same address.

Airport Parking

If you still wish to drive, remember when you reach the airport to stay in the right lanes and follow the overhead blue signs to the upper-level road for departing flights. Terminal 2 is the exception--departing passengers check in on the ground level. Vehicles picking up passengers from arriving flights, stay in the left lanes and follow red signs to lower-level road.

The more than 8,000 public parking spaces in the central terminal area primarily are designed for short-term parking, with a $10 a day fee to discourage extended parking, so vacation travelers should try LAX's economy-rate perimeter lots.

Providing 18,000 spaces close to the central terminal area, these parking facilities include Lot C at 96th Street and Sepulveda Boulevard, $4 a day, and Lot B (formerly VSP) on 111th Street between Aviation and La Cienega boulevards, $3 a day. These lots offer free shuttle service to and from airline terminals every 10 minutes around the clock.

Several private facilities near LAX also provide reasonably priced public parking and free shuttle service to airlines, as follows: LA Express Parking, 6101 West 98th St., $5.50 a day or $1 half-hour, (213) 670-8164; Auto Air Porter, 2222 E. Imperial Highway (indoor parking), $4 to $9 a day, depending on length of stay, and $58 a week, (213) 640-1111; Car Barn, 5757 W. Century Blvd., indoor parking, $7.25 a day, (213) 642-0900; General Airport Parking, 6309 West 92nd St., $6.50 a day, (213) 645-4111; Marriott Hotel, 5585 W. Century Blvd., indoor parking, $10 a day, ask for valet parking (213) 641-5700; Sheraton-Plaza La Reina, 6101 W. Century Blvd., $10 a day, ask for valet parking (213) 642-1111; Valet Air Park, 96th Street at Sepulveda Boulevard, $7 a day, (213) 645-6600.

LAX Information Radio

As you near the airport on the San Diego Freeway or along Century Boulevard, tune in Airport Information Radio (530 on AM dial) for a listing of airline locations (Terminals 1 through 7) as well as airport parking and traffic information.

Handicapped Travelers

Facilities at LAX are accessible to handicapped travelers. For those in wheelchairs, a van with a hydraulic lift is on standby at the airport's Parking Lot C to provide free shuttle service to and from airline terminals. Passengers returning to LAX call (213) 646-6402 or 646-8201 for return service to Lot C.

Public telephones equipped with telecommunications devices (TDD) for the deaf or speech impaired are available in the Tom Bradley International Terminal and in Terminals 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7.

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