The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors voted Thursday to take steps in reducing the cost of its ridership passes by half — once normal boarding practices resume — to give people financial relief after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The passes would cost $3.50 for a daily pass, $12.50 for a seven-day pass and $50 for a 30-day pass for no less than six months after normal boarding resumes.
“I think it’s time for Metro to join in providing relief of its own,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, who sits on the board. “We’ve known for a long time (the) fare structure isn’t perfect, that overcharge is present for some and undercharges for others. And one of the biggest problems is the cost of full-price passes.”
Garcetti said Metro’s current 30-day pass is one of the least affordable public transit passes California and the U.S.
According to the Metro Board report, reducing the cost of full-price passes would have a “marginal impact on Metro’s fare revenue.” In February, Metro said it sold “only” about $2 million in full-price 30-day, seven-day and one-day passes.
Between its rail and bus ridership, Metro is still servicing more than 400,000 people a week.
The board also directed Metro staff to prepare a marketing plan to inform frequent riders of the fare changes, with particular focus on helping cash-paying riders take advantage of the promotional fares and transition to cashless, TAP-card payments.
Channing Martinez, a member of the Bus Riders Union in Los Angeles, said Metro should make its services free to riders until Dec. 31, although he said the board is moving in “the right direction.”
“I’m here to urge you to stand with the Bus Riders Union in implementing free public transportation for all (Los Angeles Unified School District) students,” Martinez said. “Many LAUSD students are unfortunately houseless and cannot afford the fare, and many more black passengers are targeted on Metro under the guise of fare evasion.”
A report will come back to the Metro Board in 30 days with recommendations on temporarily lowering fares for all of Metro’s services with the reduced prices of passes, once regular boarding practices resume.
The board voted that the report should consider recommendations to welcome back riders to Metro services and to examine ways to keep passes affordable.