"She thought about it for four years. She wanted to try it, but kept balking.
"I was scared," says Francine Choi, a Los Angeles County employee who lives in Long Beach. "I was worried I'd get mugged." And then a couple months ago, filling her BMW at a Chevron near work, she gasped when she saw the total pass $60. Then and there, she summoned the courage to do it at last.
Choi rode the Metro Blue Line to work the next day.
"Now I take naps on the way home" says Choi, 45, extolling the light-rail line between downtown L.A. and Long Beach and the $150 or so she saves by riding it every month.
With gas prices shooting into orbit, mass transit ridership is trending upward -- barely.
Car culture has stubborn roots in Southern California. The vast majority of Southern Californians are holding tenaciously to the privacy and convenience of their own cars, over the crush of humanity on the region's trains and buses."