Look, I won’t lie to you. Your commute is probably going to totally suck.
You’ll either end up on the other side of town from your job, or your boss will want you to go in at the most inconvenient hours traffic-wise, or you’ll have a job that’s easy to get to, but it will be temporary, or your job will only be three miles away, but it will be so congested you’ll be better off walking that three miles.
One of those things has happened to every person I know in LA. Come to the city expecting it.
Fortunately, we live in the age of smart phones, which have a magical ability to make horrendous things not quite so horrendous. Here are six apps you can download now to make your commute more tolerable.
Why is a home-finding app on here? Because planning where to live relative to where you work is the best way to ensure a tolerable commute, and Trulia is unique in that it tells you what your commute to work will be.
“But couldn’t I just look up the distance?” You could, but that will tell you almost nothing. Distance doesn’t matter in LA nearly as much as traffic flow. Sometimes it takes 8 minutes to go 10 miles on the 405 South in the morning, and sometimes it takes 8 minutes to go 10 feet on the 405 North in the evening, and you feel a burning desire to drive your car off of the freeway to your death just so “at least you’re moving.”
Regardless, you need to prepare yourself as best you can. You need a commute estimate for your home and work. You need Trulia.
Waze will likely be the most indispensible feature of your smart phone as long as you’re living here (yes, more so than the “phone” part of your smart phone.). It’s different from other GPS apps in that it is constantly responding and adjusting your route based on user notifications of the traffic ahead.
Waze will tell you when to get off the freeway early, what bizarre side street to take, and even when there are accidents ahead. In LA, it will often tell you a different way to get home every day, because traffic changes every day. Sometimes there’s an accident, sometimes the freeway is weirdly wide open, and sometimes the president is in town (Although frankly, you should just call in sick on these days. The horror.).
It’s not without its flaws. Sometimes it will have you turn left across eight lanes of constant traffic in order to get to your destination. Sometimes it will give you a route that’s not actually the fastest. Sometimes it won’t shut up now matter how clear it is that you’re circling your destination in search of parking.
Sometimes you love Waze, and sometimes you hate it, but you can’t function here without it.
Scoop is the best carpooling app out there, which is great, because a long commute can be a lonely, harrowing experience. If you can find someone who’s cool, Scoop could be an ideal way to make friends, save on gas, and break into the incredible, blessed, mythical carpool lane.
Or maybe a carpool isn’t ideal for you. Sometimes after an annoying day at work, you just need to escape from human interaction for the length of your commute (somewhere between fifteen and 487 minutes.) Instead of wallowing in how awful it is, look at it as an opportunity to explore new music and catch up on that band your annoying friend keeps telling you that you HAVE to listen to. When you change your perspective like this, your commute becomes a lot more positive.
Besides, music is therapeutic, and nothing leaves someone in need of therapy like an LA commute.
5-6. RSSRadio Podcast Downloader App/Audible
A great podcast or audiobook can involve funny, thought-provoking, or educational content that can take your mind off the fact that a woman just blew by you on the shoulder while on her phone while you’re sitting in a complete standstill.
RSSRadio and Audible bring you audiobooks and podcasts that are probably the best entertainment you can hope for on your drive. Also as far as I can tell, Audible is also the only way you can get Oprah to read to you, so really, why haven’t you downloaded it yet?