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.