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Getting from LAX to Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a coastal city in southern California, known for its history, pier, beaches, and thriving cultural scene. As Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the world’s fourth busiest airport, with multiple terminals and runways catering to over 87 million travellers annually, navigating LAX upon arrival can potentially be complex, but it doesn’t have to be!

To travel from LAX Airport to Santa Monica, you have two main options; taxi or bus. The most convenient choice is to use a taxi or a private airport shuttle which would take 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. Alternatively, you can opt for public transportation; you will hop on a free E shuttle bus across the airport terminal in order to reach the Big Blue Bus stop which offers a direct route, with BBB Route 3, from LAX to Santa Monica, including the popular Santa Monica Pier area, providing a cost-effective option, and an average journey time of 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Welcome Pickups offers meet and greet services and a friendly introduction to Los Angeles at the same price as a regular taxi. Click here to see the cost.

Comparison of the options

Taxi €46.60 30min 24/7
Bus €2.40 80min 04:54–22:45

How to get from LAX to Santa Monica by taxi

Taking a taxi or private shuttle from Los Angeles Airport to Santa Monica is one of the quickest and most convenient transport options. Taxis are available 24/7 at LAX and take around 30 minutes to get you to Santa Monica, depending on traffic conditions.

Taxi fare from LAX to Santa Monica

Taxis and private shuttles departing from LAX to Santa Monica typically offer a fixed rate of approximately $50 (€46.60) for the 25 km trip. This fare covers a standard vehicle accommodating up to 4 passengers and includes a $4 (€3.60) airport surcharge.


$50 (€46.60)

Trip Duration

30 Min.

*Prices may vary unless booked in advance.

Value for Money

Taxis and private shuttles are available 24/7 at Los Angeles (LAX) Airport.

Where do I get a taxi from?

Official taxi stands are situated outside the exit doors of each terminal. Los Angeles International Airport hosts various private transfer providers, resulting in official taxi vehicles displaying different colours. Nonetheless, these taxis adhere to the same regulations and procedures for passenger pickups at LAX.


Los Angeles International Airport comprises eight terminals, which can be confusing and time-consuming to navigate, especially if you need to catch public transport. To avoid this hassle, you can opt for a taxi from one of the easy-to-locate taxi stands, or for greater convenience, pre-book a private shuttle from LAX Airport to Santa Monica. This is more convenient because it ensures a direct, efficient, and hassle-free journey to your destination and personalised door-to-door service.

Editor’s Note

When travelling from LAX to Santa Monica, it's important to be aware that the set fare may vary depending on the provider, and in some cases the driver may choose to use their taximeter instead, to calculate the cost of your journey. For a smoother experience and predictable cost, it's advisable to pre-pay by pre-booking a private shuttle to your specific destination.

Useful Tips

If possible, plan your journey during less congested hours to minimise travel time.
Taxis usually accept both card and cash payments at LAX. But for your peace of mind, you can check this with your driver before setting off.
Consider booking a taxi in advance to ensure a seamless transfer from LAX to Santa Monica.

How to get from Los Angeles Airport to Santa Monica by bus

To travel from LAX Airport to Santa Monica using the BBB (Big Blue Bus), begin by hopping on the free E Shuttle from LAX to the Metro Green Line Aviation/LAX Station and then transfer to the Big Blue Bus (BBB) Route 3, towards Downtown Santa Monica, embarking on a 24-minute journey with 28 stops along the way.

After arriving at the 4th Santa Monica station, you could complete your journey with a 9-minute walk to Santa Monica Pier if that’s your desired location.

How much is the bus from Los Angeles Airport to Santa Monica?

The airport shuttle service is free, and then a one-way ticket from LAX to Santa Monica on the BBB (Big Blue Bus) costs $1.25 (€1.20) per passenger. Children under the age of 5 years can ride the bus for free. Tickets can be purchased directly on the BBB bus, and only cash is accepted.


$1.25 (€1.20)

Trip Duration

80 Min.

There is a waiting time of up to 15 minutes for the Big Blue Bus.

Value for Money

The E Shuttle bus service does not operate from 2:00 am to 4:00 am daily. The Big Blue bus from LAX to Santa Monica is available from 4:54 am to 10:45 pm on weekdays and 5:33 am to 10:45 pm on weekends.

Where do I get the bus from?

You can catch the free airport shuttle bus from Los Angeles International Airport at the designated bus stop, indicated by a PINK LAX Shuttle sign and located on the Lower/Arrivals Level in front of each terminal; you’ll then head towards the LAX City Bus Centre station where you will find the BBB (Big Blue Bus) to Santa Monica. Once you’re there, simply look for the “Big Blue Bus” signs.


While the BBB service from LAX to Santa Monica is an economical option, it may not be the most convenient choice for some travellers. Despite the low cost, passengers should consider that they need to transfer from the airport terminals to the bus stops, which can be confusing and tiresome, especially if you have a lot of luggage. Additionally, the bus makes multiple stops along the way, extending the travel time considerably. While it’s budget-friendly, it’s essential to weigh in the convenience factor, especially if you’re travelling with children and prioritise a safe and seamless journey.

Editor’s Note

Navigating from LAX to Santa Monica using the BBB bus may be cost-effective, but it requires a shuttle transfer from the airport to the bus stops, potentially posing challenges if you have heavy luggage or run on a tight schedule.

Useful Tips

Confirm you’re boarding the correct bus by checking the route and direction displayed on the front and on the sides of the bus as it approaches.
Have your fare ready to present to the operator upon boarding, and if possible, move to the rear of the bus. Priority seating in the front is for elderly or passengers with disabilities.
Stay attentive to announcements for your stop and pull the cord approximately one block before your desired drop-off stop.

Welcome Pickups has a Net Safety Score of 99 of 100

We’ve introduced a metric indicating how safe travellers feel when using our services during the COVID-19 pandemic. After every ride, we ask each traveller to leave a review.

  • 20 minute gap between transfers

  • Regular Car Sanitisation

  • Contactless ride

  • Sanitiser in every car

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Frequently asked questions

How far is LAX Airport from Santa Monica?

The road distance from LAX Airport to Santa Monica is approximately 18 km (11.4 mi). It takes an average of 30 minutes by taxi or a private transfer, traffic-dependent.

How do I get from LAX Airport to Santa Monica?

To get from LAX to Santa Monica, you have two main transportation options. You can cover the route by taxi for a hassle-free experience which can even be booked in advance, or by combining the airport’s E Shuttle and the Route 3 Big Blue Bus to Santa Monica. The bus is a more budget-friendly option, but it takes longer and it may involve multiple transfers, so be sure to check bus schedules before travelling and plan your journey.

What’s the cost of a taxi from Los Angeles Airport to Santa Monica?

The cost of a taxi from LAX to Santa Monica typically costs around $50 (€46.60), depending on traffic conditions and your exact drop-off point in Santa Monica. For instance, from LAX Airport to Santa Monica Pier you can expect to pay closer to $60 (€56) for your taxi ride. Taxi fares may vary slightly, so it’s a good idea to confirm the fare with the taxi driver before beginning your journey.

For total peace of mind and the assurance of a set fare, you may wish to consider booking your transportation with Welcome Pickups.

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