Mayor Villaraigosa proposes free use of Metro for school field trips

A motion that would allow students with public and private schools to use Metro for free to go on field trips during non-peak hours was approved today by Metro Board of Directors’ executive management and audit committee. The motion is by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a member of the Metro Board.

The idea is to allow students to use excess capacity on Metro during non-rush hours. The mayor’s motion says that it would not cost Metro any additional funds nor deprive the agency of any revenues since it’s not an extra service — just filling otherwise empty seats.

The motion will be considered by the full Board of Directors at their Dec. 9 meeting. If it’s approved, Metro CEO Art Leahy will be directed to come up with a plan for providing the service that would likely involve schools having to make a reservation ahead of time so that Metro buses and trains aren’t overwhelmed.

The press release from Villaraigosa’s office is after the jump.

MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA PROPOSES FREE TRANSIT FOR SCHOOL FIELD TRIPS

New policy would let students on school-organized trips ride for free on MTA trains and buses during the day

LOS ANGELES – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today announced a new policy for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) that would allow students from public and private schools in Los Angeles County to ride MTA transit for free during the day.

“Schools throughout Los Angeles County are struggling with severe budget challenges, and cutting field trip transportation means less opportunity for students to take advantage of museums, programs, and events outside of school buildings,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.

“This is especially true for low income students whose families do not have the resources for alternative transportation.”

MTA will not suffer an increase in operating costs because service is already running, and no revenue loss because students would not otherwise be riding transit during school hours without this policy.

“Our students are missing out on educational experiences because we have no  funds to bus them on field trips. Access to Metro rail and buses will open a world of opportunities for learning beyond the classroom,” said Santee teacher Trebor Jacquez.

“Because MTA buses and trains have unused capacity during school hours, making free transit available for students is a ‘win-win’ policy for MTA,” added Mayor Villaraigosa.

If approved by the MTA Board at its December 9, 2010 board meeting, MTA management would be required to develop specific procedures for administering the policy and implement the system by the end of January 2011.

7 replies

  1. Very good idea. its always smart to encourage transit at an early age and this will not cost any money.

    Also, it would be fantastic if Metro would offer late night services on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. With booming populations in Hollywood, Pasadena, Downtown and Koreatown that all have plenty of bars and clubs, it would be wise. I know i try to use metro so i wont drink and drive, but taking a 20 dollar cab ride at night is a bit expensive. it would be a very good idea for metro to extend service until 3 AM those three nights with 20 minute headways.

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  2. I don’t know about this idea honestly. K-12 students are already eligible for a monthly Metro pass for a whopping $24, or about 1/3 the cost of a regular monthly pass, which, by the way, is already subsidized.

    This is a tough budgetary time, despite Measure R. Everybody should pay their fair share to ride so that Metro actually has the resources to have frequent and convenient service in more places and at more times.

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  3. This is a great idea. I’m in high school, and I have used Metro on a few field trips already due to budget cuts. Making sure that 50-80 students have paid fare is very hectic, and a cost that should not be placed onto students because schools can’t afford school buses.

    I’m a fan.

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  4. Its A Great Plan Because It Will Help Students To Go Somewhere That Is A Events During School Hours Or After School Hours Like Prom, Winter Formal, And etc… Due To Budget Cuts Some Students Can’t Pay 2 Get To Prom, Winter Formal And Even Field Trips On School Buses…

    It Will Make Students More Easy To Get There By Either Metro Buses Or Metro Trains

    Also I’m A Senior At Downey High School And I Have To Take The Metro Bus To Get To School. Also It Will Help Me & Students To Save Money & Take The MTA Buses And Trains To Get Where Ever I Need To Go On Field Trips, Prom, Winter Formal,& etc

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  5. Chewie,
    As I understand it, this is for events during school hours. These kids would otherwise be in class and wouldn’t be paying for Metro anyway (because they’re…in class).

    So there is $0 that Metro would be losing here. This doesn’t cover getting kids to and from school, etc.

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  6. Such program exist, it’s called Transit Education Program. Hopefully the Mayor will make the contact.

    Kids recieve a free daily pass in exchange for a safety presentation and tour!!!!

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