Metro to provide free fares for LAUSD students if teachers strike

Here’s the news release from Metro:

Metro proposes to offer free rides to students of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in the event of a teachers’ strike that may begin on Thursday, January 10.

Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington, in consultation with L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl, has directed fare-free service for LAUSD students. The full Metro Board will consider this matter at its January 24 meeting.

Students who show their LAUSD identification card during strike days can attend their schools, study at local libraries or participate in various activities at up to 29 recreation centers throughout the city, among other undertakings. LAUSD students will be able to ride free from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. each strike day.

Metro bus operators will check LAUSD student IDs on-board buses and fare enforcement officers will allow students, with ID cards, to ride without fares on Metro’s Gold, Blue, Green and Expo light rail lines. On the Metro Red and Purple Lines, Metro will deploy TAP personnel to facilitate students’ free entry through subway fare gates.

“LAUSD is the country’s second largest school district with more than 600,000 students. At Metro, we want to help those kids who may be staying home from school because of the strike find constructive and educational ways to spend their time,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Chair of the Metro Board. “Free Metro access will help make it easier for students and their families to get to parks, museums, libraries and other facilities.”

Students may plan their trip using the Metro Trip Planner at www.metro.net or call 323-GO.METRO (323-466-3876). Students can also download the GoMetro smartphone app to complete their trips. The app is available on both iPhone and Android platforms. Metro and its municipal partners currently operate 165 bus lines and five major rail lines which cover a nearly 1,500 square mile area within L.A. County.

“We have to do everything possible to ease the burden on parents and children affected by a strike,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Free rides on Metro mean that families will have one less thing to worry about while both parties work toward an agreement.”

Metro offers discounted passes to students K through 12 throughout the year. A one-way fare for these students is normally just $1 dollar per day, or $24 per month. For more information on Metro’s student fares, visit https://www.metro.net/riding/fares/students-k-8-and-9-12/ or call 213-680-0054.

“Students are the next generation of Metro customers,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington.  “We want them to know they can depend on our transit services as we continue to build a robust, world-class system for them and future generations to come.”

19 replies

  1. That is the stupidest thing ever. Of course the CEO would be behind this.
    Why allow them to ride for free? They already have a reduced fare and/or monthly tap card.
    What about all the other school children around Los Angeles that do not attend LAUSD schools?
    Make it fair for every student in Los Angeles, why only just some?
    Get it together Metro and think smarter and work harder in making decisions.
    Very careless.

    • The negative replies to this are kind of mind-boggling. Why would you not want kids to get out of the house, have fun, get exercise, and see educational things? For something that *seemed* like 100% of people would be on board, I’m just astounded at the negativity here.

      • Hi Jared;

        The diverse views don’t surprise me! Not after so many years of doing this. I do understand the folks who say why just LAUSD students. That’s a fair question. I think the answer in this case is that due to circumstances beyond the immediate control of students and their families, the LAUSD kids are likely to be out of school at a time of the year when that’s not expected or planned. I don’t think free fares are a panacea for that, but perhaps they make it easier for kids to get around or encourage them to use the system — including those who don’t ordinarily do so. I’m personally of the school (pun intended) of thought that anything we can do to get people to try the system is a good thing. We’re living in a place where six percent of commuters take transit, meaning there’s considerable market share to be gained. Getting people to try the system, I think, is always desirable. That’s why we push taking Metro to sports events (although not via free fares). Overall, it’s a tiny part of our ridership but it’s a crowd of folks who may not ride us every day — and a way to show them there is another way to get around the area. My three cents 🙂

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

      • Jared, your heart is in the right place and I admire your positivity but there is a certain reality that we have to accept. Kids are not going to use free bus rides to get exercise or see educational things. Most parents in this city are worried about their kids’ safety in school this week let alone having them wander the city. There is a reason that the LAPD is on modified tactical alert until this is over and it’s not because of rampaging teachers running amok or the large crowds expected at the Getty. I agree with you that this is negative and that people here (and in other posts) seem upset when the MTA does certain things. However, this isn’t just a bad policy idea, it is potentially dangerous for the students and other passengers. The negativity, and sometimes the anger, on these posts comes from the fact that those who manage or develop policy at the agency really seem to be disconnected at times from the public who rides their system and policies like this just highlight that disconnect. I wish you were right and that safety was the last thing we had to worry about.

        • I think you might be reading into what I said. I didn’t mention safety (though you might be right, I don’t think it is a *big* issue here). Teachers are striking, as they sometimes do, not really a safety concern. They’re not rampaging. I live directly adjacent to an LAUSD school, and I work across from the LAUSD HQ in downtown. I have not seen anything that would constitute rampaging or “running amok”. Just typical strike behavior. No lawlessness to be seen. I think you’re advocating selling these kids short on getting diverse experiences by invoking hysteria that’s not based on reality. They’re not going to be sitting inside a safety bubble at home whether you give them bus passes or not; so you might as well allow them to get out and see the city without burdening lower income families. I know when I was a kid, every day off I’d go ride my bike around. It’s not like some little kid is going to take his bus pass to go push elderly people down the stairs and go visit their heroin dealer.

  2. The full Metro board is going to discuss this on 1/24 for a strike that’s going to start 1/10? Please stop offering free rides because it serves no practical purpose, costs money and further encourages the growing number of people who feel entitled that they should not have to pay. We know you all are the wokest people in town, you don’t need to continue proving it. If the kids are being bused across town (somewhat rare these days) then let those kids use Metro for free. The vast majority of kids who don’t take school buses don’t need to be given free rides wherever they want. Anyone who has ever ridden a bus in this city can tell you letting kids on a bus for free is a terrible idea and probably dangerous. Maybe we can hand out matches and permanent markers too! It makes me wonder what planet some of these board people live on. Let’s not charge on voting day so the fraction of one percent of voters who decided to vote because of the free fares can get to the polls! What’s a half million bucks lost to benefit a couple thousand voters (if that)? Ms. Kuehl should ride the 33 down Venice at 3pm past Venice, Hamilton, Dorsey, LA High, and West Adams Prep during free bus days just to make sure everything is going smoothly.

    • “What’s a half million bucks lost to benefit a couple thousand voters (if that)?“

      Here’s the funny thing about Election Day that I kept consistently noticing: People were still refilling their TAP cards and paying for fares on that day. Either not everyone cared about the free fares, or not everyone even knew that fares would be free systemwide on that day to begin with. So while I naturally believe money was loss that day, if a good portion of Metro riders weren’t even aware of this (huge IF of course), I honestly don’t think a severe amount of money was lost, at least not $500K. Plus monthly passes were already taken into account.

  3. Sooooo…students get free expedited access when teachers aren’t teaching and nobody is learning. But students have to pay any other day?
    LOL thanks Metro for helping out the teachers’ cause because you just gave a free ticket for students to go anywhere in LA County they want to until 7 at night!

  4. I can’t help but to ask what apps does the P3010s have installed on their version of Windows? I also want to ask does some employees at their divisions casually watch YouTube in their trains waiting for their departure? This was on my mind since the 2014 fleet reveal.

        • Sorry but I strongly disagree with your assertion that train equipment is being used for something besides running trains.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

  5. This sounds good – and, of course, I’d love to see all student ride free all the time. A logistical question though: elementary school students don’t have LAUSD ID cards – can they ride free? if so, how?

  6. It makes sense for local libraries, rec centers, parks, etc., to open their doors to students. It does not make sense to encourage students of all ages to wander and roam the county using the Metro system.

    How does a Metro pass help students “find constructive and educational ways to spend their time”? If anything, it pulls them out of their communities where they might otherwise do something positive with their time off.

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