MTA Votes To Raise Train, Bus Fares For Commuters - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

MTA Votes To Raise Train, Bus Fares For Commuters

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Los Angeles, CA -

(FOX 11 / CNS) The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board is set to vote today on a plan to raise bus and rail fares, including increasing basic fares from $1.50 to $1.75 by September.

Basic fares would eventually rise to $2 in 2017 and $2.25 in 2020 under the proposal put forth by Metro staff members. Day pass fares would also rise from $5 to $7 as early as September, then to $8 by 2017 and $9 by 2020. Increases in weekly and monthly passes are also part of the fare restructuring plan.

The plan includes a new feature that would allow riders to transfer to different lines for up to two hours. Basic fares currently do not include free transfers.

Support from a two-thirds majority of the 13-person Metro board is required to adopt the fare hikes, which Metro officials said are needed to erase a projected $36.8 million shortfall in 2016. That hole could grow to $225 million over the next decade, they said.

But the board could take action to postpone the 2017 and 2020 hikes amid opposition from transit rider advocates, who are urging board members to reject any fare increases.

The board, which includes Mayor Eric Garcetti, five county supervisors and elected officials from municipalities around the region, will also consider a motion calling for the 2017 and 2020 hikes to be put off until a task force convenes.

The motion by Garcetti, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky calls for the formation of a "Transit Ridership Best Practices Task Force" and the creation of a "riders' advocate" position, among other things.

Under the motion, student fares would also be kept at the current rates until "further evaluation" by the task force.

Garcetti, Ridley-Thomas and Yaroslavsky also want a report from Metro's chief executive officer on "steps to decriminalize youth fare evasion on Metro's systems."

Since Metro started enforcing fares, some have complained that minorities are disproportionately affected.

Members of the Bus Riders Union, long-time transit rider advocates, met with the mayor in March, and the group has been engaged in "ongoing communication" with the mayor's office "as recently as this week," mayoral spokeswoman Marie Lloyd told City News Service.

The BRU successfully sued Metro in 1994 for putting more money into trains, effectively discriminating against bus riders. The action was settled by consent decree, with Metro agreeing to upgrade its buses.

Lloyd said the mayor's office has also met with the Youth Justice Coalition, which is pushing for free fares for students and changes to Metro policies regarding penalties.

From Sandra Endo:

Transit riders are protesting the MTA's proposed fare hike. The board is considering the plan at this morning's meeting.

The agency increased rates are needed since it's facing a 36 million dollar operating budget shortfall in 2016.

The fare hike proposal would increase the $1.50 bus and rail fare to $1.75 in September. It would be raised to $2.00 in 2018 and $2.25 in 2021.

Fares for seniors, the disabled and students. The $75 dollar monthly pass would increase to $100.

Agency officials say without higher fares Metro would need to consider cutting a thousand jobs and scale back bus and rail service by a million hours next year.

Members of the bus riders union are speaking out at the board meeting to denounce the measure. They say the hike would impact people of color and low income riders the most.

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