By Michael Quintero
Don’t own a car and need to get around? Or did you have too much fun one day and now you can’t drive for a year (if you catch my drift)? No Problem, Metrolink and Amtrak have you covered for the time being.
Tusk traces the train lines that run from Fullerton to Los Angeles, and proffers some tips on what to expect and how to navigate them.
Metrolink Fullerton Station
Address: 120 E. Santa Fe Ave., Fullerton, CA
The Orange County Line (Orange Line)
Regular price (One Way): $8.50
Student price: $6.50
The Orange County Line from Fullerton can take you to Union Station in LA or down to Oceanside. The good thing about the Metrolink line is that train attendants rarely check for tickets, especially for those riding from Fullerton to LA, which is only two stops.
So if you want to be bold, here’s what to do: Download the Metrolink app, set up your destination on the app and add your card—but don’t click pay!—just leave that screen open and wait until you see staff coming around to buy your ticket. You may also avoid getting asked for a student ID if you have a backpack. That money spent on a ticket could be better spent on a burger—or a beer.
The Orange Line carries a pretty mellow crowd of passengers; I’ve yet to run into a problem while riding this line. Most of the riders pretty much keep to themselves.
The 91/Perris Valley (Blue Line)
Prices vary upon destination
The Blue Line goes to Union Station and ends in Perris. Like on the Orange Line, use the Metrolink app to set up your ticket order and wait for the staff to come around. Pro tip: keep a backpack with you to avoid being asked for your student I.D.
The only difference from the Orange Line is the people who board this train. Nothing compared to the subway system in LA—that’s another story—but prepare yourself to deal with people under the influence or rowdy riders yelling nonsense.
Take for example the time a lady repeatedly yelled, “trouble on the left, trouble on the right, trouble in the middle, the lord will save me today,” for an hour straight.
But, don’t worry, you won’t be in harm’s way. Just make sure to bring your headphones or a book to tune out those awkward instances.
Prices vary upon destination
Student discount: 15% off ticket price for students 25 and under.
The Pacific Surfliner is a more high-end Metrolink line that expands greater distances than the Blue and Orange lines. This train will take you from Fullerton to Union Station, or all the way down to San Diego.
The cost to ride the Surfliner may be a bit steeper, but you’re paying for the luxury of having more consistent schedules, comfier seats with more leg space, free Wi-Fi, power outlets, restrooms, and a café. But with these extra luxuries come extra security, so buy your ticket before getting on. I’ve tried to get away without paying for this line, but was not slick enough. (If you are, tell me your secret.)
Also, if you’re a weekend warrior, leave your bag of weed, psychedelics, or whichever vice you partake at home. K9 units are known to randomly board and search the train.
Though tickets for the Surfliner are a few bucks more than the Metrolink, the upside to using Amtrak’s system is ease of access (you can pre-purchase your tickets online), comfort, and reliability.
Not having a car or license may seem like a hassle, but these options will get you where you need to go if you’re looking for alternatives to the bus, Uber, or Lyft to get around.