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.
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).
In order to take a taxi to a destination, students can book one from a kiosk inside the terminal that has the numbers of shuttles, limousines, taxis, hotels, or find a taxi outside. 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).
Alternatively, students can step out onto the sidewalk just outside of the terminal and walk to a taxi stop that should be marked by an overhead sign. The LAX website provides more information on Taxi services at LAX, 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. 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.
When stating the destination or asking for directions, be very specific to avoid any misunderstanding:
- Campus – Mention which USC campus: the University Park Campus (UPC) or the Health Sciences Campus (HSC). UPC is often referred to as the USC main campus.
- Cross-streets – Be sure to give the closest cross-streets of the destination. Jefferson and Hoover is an example of cross-streets near UPC.
- Gate number – There are several numbered entrances to UPC. Each gate has its own schedule, so please check with the USC Transportation Office about gate schedules. Always ask for and include a gate number when getting or giving directions.
- Building – All the buildings at USC are either referred to by their respective names or a 3-letter code; for example, the Leavey Library is LVL.
Parking – On-campus parking is available in structures, lots, and streets (reserved and metered). Metered parking is very limited, and during peak hours, impossible to find. It is possible to make a reservation in advance or purchase a daily parking pass. There is no restriction on passenger drop off or pick up on campus, but access is restricted to the outskirts of campus.