During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities across the country made public transit free for all to use. After getting a taste of that period, many people in Los Angeles wondered if free transit, or at least lower fares, could help the city increase transit use. Well, LA Metro took steps last week to make that a reality.
During a board meeting on December 8th, the Metro Board of Directors approved a new fare plan. This plan will cap fares for daily and weekly transit users. Previously, LA transit users could buy daily passes that would allow them unlimited rides for a 1-day, 7-day, or 30-day period. The new fare caps will render these passes obsolete. They will also reduce the cost of transit for people who use Metro multiple times throughout the day or week. For example, the 7-day pass costs $7, but the new daily fare cap is $5. With these policies in place, people will be punished less for using transit in LA more.
Metro also restructured the fare system for seniors, disabled people, and students. On top of the same fare cap policies as the general public, students will have their base fare drop by 25 cents. At the board meeting, some discussed eliminating off-peak pricing for seniors and the disabled. However, the board scrapped this idea, along with one to tie fare prices to inflation.
LA Metro Wants to Increase Transit Use
It’s no secret that transit officials in Los Angeles want to increase their ridership. This is a goal for many cities across the country. After all, in a post-pandemic America, the usual concerns about traffic and suburban sprawl have returned in full force. Therefore, it’s a goal of many places to increase their ridership on trains and buses.
While Los Angeles’ measures are a step in the right direction, they are far from the most aggressive. This week, the Washington, DC, city council approved a plan to eliminate bus fares permanently. Washington, DC, will now be a sort of testing ground for the rest of the country to see whether or not this kind of plan can work. Angelenos, take note. If DC’s plan works out well, you could be looking at free bus fares in the near future.