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Students create website encouraging the exploration of LA by bus

busla.me maps more than 100 Los Angeles hotspots and the bus routes needed to reach them from campus. (Courtesy of Byron Pang)

By Katie Shepherd

Oct. 16, 2014 1:47 a.m.

The original version of this article contained an error and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for more information.

Two students aim to pop the “UCLA bubble” using a website they built to share iconic and interesting locations in Los Angeles accessible by bus.

UCLA students Byron Pang and Zheng Sun teamed up over the summer to create busla.me, which launched last week and highlights more than 100 locales across the city along nine different bus routes that run through west L.A.

“There’s so much out there, and people should get out and see the city they live in,” said Pang, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student.

Pang gathered the data for all of the locations, including their coordinates, how to get there by bus and the appeal of the site. Zheng, a fourth-year computer science student, built the website to showcase the information.

Pang said he and Zheng wanted to facilitate exploration of L.A., especially in students’ first two years at UCLA, when undergraduates may have the most free time and may not have access to cars.

Coming from the Bay Area, Pang said he came to UCLA with a desire to strike out into the city, but he had to find a way to get around without a car.

“Living on the Hill, none of my friends had cars, so I had to use the buses,” he said.

For the bus-riding newbie, Pang recommends starting with the Metro Rapid 720 line. The 720 runs from downtown to Santa Monica, showcasing a wide variety of L.A. hotspots.

Once students master using familiar bus routes, they can branch out to the less common lines.

Pang said he thinks a lot of students know about lines like the 720, the 1 and the 2, but the six other bus lines featured on the website offer a much broader range of places to visit.

Pang and Zheng chose locations based on personal experiences traveling around the city, he added. They expect to update the site quarterly and allow students to email in suggestions for additions to the routes.

One of his favorite locations featured on the site is a group of Santa Monica mountain hiking routes which lead to Inspiration Point.

“It’s one of my favorite places I go when I just need a short bus ride away from campus,” Pang said. “I go there when I need to get away from the (UCLA) bubble.”

Compiled by Katie Shepherd, Bruin senior staff.

Correction: The Metro Rapid 720 line does not go through Little Tokyo.

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