Answer: Is it crazy to commute between Orange County and Los Angeles every day?

It depends on how flexible your hours are, how early you can get up (or how late you’re willing to stay out), how long you can stand “driving” through stop-and-go traffic, and whether the train is an option.

I commuted the slightly shorter distance from Tustin to the LAX area for about 4 months before I moved closer to my job, and it was incredibly draining.

Typically, I spent 10-20 minutes getting to the 91, and then anywhere from one to two hours trudging along at ridiculously slow speeds for the rest of the drive. The drive home was typically about 20 minutes longer than the drive to work.

On good days, if I made it to Norwalk early enough to find parking, I could take the Metro Green Line the rest of the way, bypassing the worst of the traffic and letting me read on the train. There was a stop a short bus ride away from my office. It still took an hour and a half each way, but at least I could relax during most of it.

Once I actually made it to work in only 45 minutes. It was a holiday. And the drive home was just as bad as usual.

I did try taking the train the whole way a couple of times, by taking Metrolink up to Norwalk. But because the Metro and Metrolink systems only connect in downtown LA, I had to take a local bus from Norwalk’s Metrolink station to Norwalk’s Metro station, and every transfer adds more time and more things that can go wrong in the process…especially because I had to put in extra effort to make it back to Norwalk that evening in time for the last Metrolink train, with two buses and a train on the way. It ended up being almost as stressful and taking even longer.

Going to Santa Monica, the Metrolink/Metro route might work out better, because you can probably transfer straight from one train to another at Union Station. Also, this was about three years ago, so the schedules might allow for more flexibility these days.

Another thing to consider: Metrolink is considerably more expensive than Metro, though if you’re using it daily, a pass will be a much better deal.

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