Transportation from LAX to USC
Using LA Metro trains or public transit buses are not recommended as there is no direct and easy route to USC at this time. All taxis and shuttles whose services are requested for at curbside of LAX are safe to use and licensed.
Shuttles “Shared Ride Vans”
Shuttles are minivan-like vehicles that seat about seven people and their luggage. Most shuttles offer door-to-door service, where they pick up guests right outside the airport terminal and drop them off at their destination address, or at the gate or driveway of their accommodation. The two common shuttles that students can take to UPC are Super Shuttle and Primetime Shuttle.
Cost for either of these shuttles is approximately $14 one way to UPC. They will drop you at one of the main gates (Gate 1, 2, etc.). See USC map to determine where you want to be dropped-off.
LAX website provides more information on shared ride van services. This page also provides a map of LAX terminals and locations of shared ride vans waiting area.
Super Shuttle: Choose “From Airport,” “Los Angeles Airport,” and zip code for drop-off is 90089. Super Shuttle tends to have more van options so wait time may be less than PrimeTime.
Prime Time Shuttle: Shuttle is reserved through special USC site. Choose which USC gate you would like to be dropped-off at (ex. USC-UPC Gate 2).
Upon Arrival at LAX
Immediately after exiting baggage claim look for curbside signs that state the names of Super Shuttle and Prime Time Shuttle. Super Shuttle vans are blue and Prime Time are red. A shuttle attendant will be standing beside the sign on the curbside and will assist with the appropriate van for your destination. Please be sure to keep a copy of your reservation to give to them. If you do not have a reservation, you can still use the service but the rate may be a bit higher.
The wait for the van typically ranges anywhere from 20 – 40 minutes since they try to fill-up the vans before departing LAX. Once the shuttle arrives, the driver will assist with the bags. You will be asked for the destination address, so you should state the address clearly or show a written copy of the destination address. The driver will inform you when you reach the destination and will unload the bags from the van, but will not carry them to the doorstep. This is when students should pay the fare (if it hasn’t already been paid) and tip the driver (generally $1 – $2 per bag).
Students can utilize 'LAX-it', the way that guests arriving at LAX connect to their Taxi, Lyft, Opoli, and Uber rides when leaving the airport. Please note that LAX no longer permits terminal side pickups for taxis, lyft or uber. You can walk to LAX-it to connect with your ride or take a fast, free shuttle. Terminals 1 and 7 are closest and are a 3 to 8 minute walk; the farthest terminals, T4 and T5 are about a 19 minute walk. The LAX-it area is located right next to Terminal 1. Free shuttles with wifi arrive at the LAX-it Stops on the first level outside of baggage claim every 3 to 5 minute during peak periods and stop only twice between pick-up and the LAX-it area. The shuttle trip can take between 8 and 15 minutes. Passengers for this shuttle bus service should wait at the GREEN LAX-it sign on the Lower/Arrivals Level in front of each terminal.
The LAX website provides more information on taxi services, including a list of taxi companies serving LAX and a map for taxi waiting area. Some of the more popular taxi companies are Bell Cabs, Checker Cab, and Yellow Cab. Students should ask the attendant at the information desk to recommend a taxi and should also ask for an estimate of the fare, which should be approximately $40 (to USC and nearby locations). Taxis will arrive at the destination faster, as they don’t make stops on the way to drop off other passengers, but they are twice as expensive as the shuttle van.
Never leave baggage unattended. Do not entrust bags to a stranger, even if they seem trustworthy and honest.
Be attentive and watchful of signs, directions and maps at the airport. Listen carefully to announcements made over the PA (public address) system.
Beware of solicitors inside and outside the airport terminal who may offer to provide a ride. Don’t encourage a conversation with them.
If things are not going according to plan, don’t express disappointment or confusion. Similarly, don’t divulge the details of the situation to a stranger.
In case of a problem, alert the information desk in the lobby or airport security personnel.
Directions to USC
USC is centrally located and very close to downtown Los Angeles. It helps to be familiar with the main roads and freeways around USC, in order to find the way or give someone else (the shuttle driver, or a friend/relative) the correct directions.
While some students choose to have a car, there are many transportation options in Los Angeles. You can get around the USC Campus with USC Trams and USC Campus Cruiser or explore Los Angeles with the Expo Light Rail Line (the subway) or the Downtown DASH Shuttle. Car rentals are also available on and around campus. It’s easy for students to pick up and drop off a car.
USC Metro TAP Pass
USC graduate students should consider getting the discounted Metro TAP pass that allows unlimited rides on the metro rails and metro buses. USC GSG TAP Program
Published on June 4th, 2017
Last updated on December 18th, 2023