Load up those TAP cards, Metro riders–fare increases are coming!
On September 15th, a new fee schedule will go into place. The base fare for regular passengers will increase to $1.75, an increase of a quarter. Day passes will increase a couple bucks to $7. 30-day passes take a big hit, increasing to $100.
One bonus to the fare increase is that riders who pay with their TAP card can now get free transfers for up to two hours. I think this is great. Many riders have to make multiple connections in order to get to their destination. Now for many, that can be done while only having to pay for one trip. Watch out if you’re paying cash on the bus, as transfers only apply to TAP card users.
There are many who are opposed to the fare increases. In May, the Los Angeles times reported here about protests from the Bus Riders Union about the increase. The group claims low-income and minority riders are being disproportionately hurt by this increase.
I can empathize with the position of the Bus Riders Union. 90% of Metro riders have a household income of less than $20,000. Although the increase of a one-way pass doesn’t sound like much, it can make a big difference to the majority of riders once it’s added up.
However, I do believe that the rate increase is necessary. Los Angeles has some of the lowest public transportation fares in the country. Metro is doing a ton of expansion, and LA is now on its way of becoming (gasp!) a major city with public transportation that stretches far and wide. Metro also faces a $36-million gap in its operating budget for 2016 projections. Without the increase, layoffs would be inevitable and much of the expansion in rail and bus lines would grind to a halt.
For more information on the rate increases, check out Metro’s site here, including info on subsidized rates.