Metrolink to conduct public outreach process for potential fare increase, fare policy changes and Title VI policies

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Here’s the news release from Metrolink, the agency that runs commuter rail in Southern California. Because this involves a potential fare increase up to seven percent, I want all readers to understand that Metrolink and Metro are separate agencies, although Metro is one of the five counties in So Cal that provides funding for Metrolink.

The official notice is above.

The release:

Metrolink to conduct public outreach process for potential fare policy changes, a fare increase, Title VI policies

Positive Train Control and increased operational costs drive $14.5 million funding gap for FY 13-14 budget

LOS ANGELES – The Metrolink Board of Directors approved staff to initiate a public outreach process for potential fare policy changes and a potential fare increase as one element to help close an existing $14.5 million funding gap for the Fiscal Year 13-14 budget. Additionally, a Title VI Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden Policy Thresholds will also be considered.

The public will be asked to give feedback regarding an average system-wide fare increase of up to 7 percent, which would go into effect on or after July 1, 2013.

“This is absolutely one of the most difficult situations for any transportation agency,” said Metrolink CEO Michael P. DePallo. “We try exhaustively to keep operating costs at the very lowest levels, while providing for the safest and most efficient commuter railroad in the nation.”

The major increases include:

  • $8.3 million for implementation and operation of positive train control (PTC). PTC refers to technology capable of intervening and automatically stopping a train, preventing train-to-train collisions.
  • $2 million in increases to contracted vendor costs for service providers.
  • $1.6 million for new operations at the Eastern Maintenance Facility (EMF) to reduce traffic at Metrolink’s Central Maintenance Facility in Los Angeles, allowing equipment to be serviced in the most efficient and effective manner.

Other fare policy changes being contemplated include changing the current Weekend Pass to a Weekend Day Pass, as well as changes to the current fare policies for Personal Care Attendants (PCAs). The Weekend Day Pass would remain at just $10, valid for system-wide travel on either Saturday or Sunday.

“We took direction from our Board, which stressed the importance of maintaining current service levels,” DePallo said. “In order to do so, a fare increase is being considered as a last resort. As was the case last year, the proposed fare increase will only cover a percentage of the funding gap. It would take a 20 percent fare increase to cover the entire funding gap. Once again, Metrolink member agencies are being asked to increase respective subsidies to reduce the cost to passengers.”

Metrolink is not the only commuter rail agency potentially being impacted by a fare increase. Even with the beginnings of a regional and national economic recovery, the current climate requires difficult decisions by transportation leaders to fund operations at a continued level to meet the region’s transportation needs. Many transportation providers across the country are facing similar challenges and have responded by raising fares by up to 25%.

The Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden Policies set thresholds that determine when a change in fares or service will result in adverse effects for minority or low income riders.

As a recipient of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding, Metrolink is required to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and to carry out the United States Department of Transportation’s Title VI regulations. Comments and suggestions on the proposed fare increase, fare policy changes and Title VI policies may be submitted orally or in writing at a public hearing to be held on June 14, 2013 at a meeting of the Metrolink Board of Directors or submitted in advance (by June 12, 2013 at noon) of the public hearing by clicking on the “eComment” option atwww.metrolinktrains.com/ecomments. Comments can also be submitted by mail in advance of the public hearing by sending feedback to the attention of “Metrolink Fares” at the SCRRA headquarters located at One Gateway Plaza, Floor 12, Los Angeles, CA or faxed to the attention of “Metrolink Fares” at (213) 452-0429. No public comments will be considered after the public hearing scheduled for June 14, 2013 begins.

Metrolink will also hold public workshops across its five-county service area to provide information to the public and solicit additional input from the public. The workshops, all beginning at 6 p.m., will be held in advance of the public hearing. The workshops will be:

– June 3, at the Oxnard Public Library in Meeting Room B (251 South A Street in Oxnard, CA)

– June 4, at the Santa Ana Metrolink Station on the fifth floor (1000 E. Santa Ana Blvd in Santa Ana, CA)

– June 5, at the City of San Bernardino Council Chambers (300 North D Street in San Bernardino, CA)

– June 6, at the Larry Chimbole Cultural Center in the Joshua Room (38350 Sierra Highway in Palmdale, CA)

– June 7, at The Gateway Center’s Union Station Conference Room (One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA)

ABOUT METROLINK (www.metrolinktrains.com)

Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 20th year of operation. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county, 512 route-mile network. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the seventh largest based on annual ridership.

3 replies

  1. “…thresholds that determine when a change in fares or service will result in adverse effects for minority or low income riders”? So, working class Caucasian riders don’t also suffer when fares are raised? This smells of reverse discrimination to me!