This Hollywood star and his daughter took the subway to the Oscars to prove something. Did it work?
IIf little golden men were awarded for the greenest Oscar nominees, then Ed Begley Jr. and Hayden Carson Begley would be Tinseltown’s toast.
For the third time, the veteran actor and his daughter used Los Angeles’ extensive bus and train system to get to the Academy Awards and proudly displayed their subway cards as they arrived at the red carpet.
said The Independent this week about her love of public transit and her efforts to encourage more Angelenos to board a bus or train in a city where it’s far less ubiquitous than New York, San Francisco or Chicago.
Begley Jr, star of numerous Christopher Guest films including best on show and dozens of TV series like Better call Saul, Arrested Development and the recently revived ones party down, said photographers and fans alike were amused by their low-key drive to Hollywood’s biggest night.
The actor, who spent part of his childhood on the East Coast, drew a contrast between the LA subway and New York.
“David Letterman would take the subway for that late night,” he said The Independent. “People from Madison Avenue and people who do difficult jobs for very little money ride the subway and buses in New York.
“It’s very different in LA because we’re spread out. The transit system here goes from Pomona to Trancas; from Santa Clarita to Long Beach. It’s a big area they serve and they do their best.”
He added, “My goal, and I think Hayden’s as well, is to raise awareness in a positive way so more people try public transit.”
Ms. Begley documented her ride to the Oscars (LA Metro Bus from Valley Village to Studio City – change to the Red Line subway – exit at Hollywood and Vine) on TikTok. The journey wasn’t without its own drama, including an insane escape from a train, a split seam on a dress, and a lost pair of shoes.
After a memorable night at the Oscars (Brendan Fraser won best actor for Hayden; Lady Gaga’s performance for Ed), it was time to leave.
“We walked down Hollywood Boulevard, back to the Hollywood and Vine station, got on the Red Line and came home,” Ms. Begley said.
For Begley Jr., 73, the round-trip fare cost him 70 cents. (A one-way, off-peak trip costs a staggering 35 cents for seniors on the LA Metro.)
Ms Begley’s TikTok video has been viewed 2 million times, received thousands of comments and spawned a multitude of articles online. It was also praised by the official LA Metro Twitter account. “And the award for Smartest Way to the Oscars goes to…” they tweeted.
The clip was also the grand finale of a seven-day TikTok series in which she traveled around LA using only public transit — a feat far more rare than residents of other cities would realize.
“I was wondering if anyone would care,” she said. “I have a great passion for public transportation in Los Angeles, having used it with my father since I was a child. I thought, ‘Okay, I’m very interested in this, but does anyone else find this interesting?’
“After the first video I got a bit of resistance from people who didn’t really understand why I was doing it or maybe thought I was doing it to show off. But it helped my cause because then I could explain exactly why I was doing it and gave me a lot of traction to push into other episodes.”
She also recalled how, after sharing her project with a friend, he unironically commented that he had been telling people for years that LA should have a subway and he thought it would be a great idea .
“What’s even funnier is that people agreed with him,” she noted.
LA has been a city choked with cars since automakers worked to oust the streetcar network in the 1960s.
About 73 percent of Angelenos drive to work, while only 7 percent use public transit, according to the University of Southern California’s Neighborhood Data for Social Change platform. (By comparison, 56 percent of New Yorkers use public transportation around the city.)
Adding to LA’s already low public transit numbers, the pandemic dealt a significant blow. The number of passengers on the bus fell by 65 percent in early 2020 and by 75 percent on the train. The Los Angeles Times reported.
In late 2022, ridership hit 72.5 percent of pre-pandemic levels, LA Metro reported, and officials are aiming to return to pre-Covid numbers by July.
But public transit travel and accompanying “micro-mobility” options like walking, pedal bikes, e-bikes, and scooters must increase exponentially if California is to meet its ambitious climate goals.
Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that aims to make the state carbon neutral by 2045, a plan that calls for an 85 percent reduction in emissions. California’s transportation sector is responsible for about half of the state’s emissions that heat the planet, not to mention associated air pollution, which disproportionately affects low-income and minority neighborhoods.
“It shouldn’t have to fall on the people who use it as an essential service to maintain it,” Ms. Begley said. “I think if we can all participate and keep it going, it can be something that’s not only good for the environment but also good for society.”
Begley Jr added: “If people don’t ride it, they don’t have enough money from the fares and it keeps getting worse. It can’t be neglected, we have to make sure we fund it appropriately and that it works very well for everyone in the City and County of LA.”
With her public transit fandom, Ms. Begley proves she’s a chip from the old, green block (her mother, Rachelle Carson-Begley, is also an actress and environmentalist, while her older sister, Amanda, is a sustainability educator).
Ed Begley Jr. has been described as an “uber-environmentalist” for having been an early pioneer of electric vehicles, recycling, solar panels and veganism since the 1970s.
He planted a drought-tolerant garden with native California plants, buried a 10,000-gallon rainwater tank in the backyard, and watered fruit trees with a gray water system before it became fashionable. For fun, he has a long-standing competition with his friend, scientist Bill Nye, for the lowest carbon footprint.
Father and daughter’s public transport mission seems to be working. “My neighbor who follows me on TikTok said, ‘I didn’t even know there was a bus going through Laurel [Canyon], that would save me so much time because I commute there all the time. Will you show me how to take it?’ I jumped at the chance,” said Ms. Begley.
As for next year’s Academy Awards, Begley Jr. said his wife will be his plus-one – but that she has confirmed she won’t be riding the subway.
On previous occasions, Mrs. Carson-Begley has been riding in someone else’s (electric) vehicle and her husband has cycled to the ceremony. At 73, however, he says he’s slowing down a bit.
“But I know my dad will find an energy-efficient way to get there,” Ms Begley said.
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/ed-begley-oscars-hayden-subway-california-b2302484.html This Hollywood star and his daughter took the subway to the Oscars to prove something. Did it work?