Attentive readers know that Metro fares are increasing on July 1. We’ve written a fair amount about it and the agency’s Board of Directors held a special meeting on Saturday to discuss the increases. The meeting lasted about an hour and was lightly attended.
Here are a few emails from readers, some edited for length. I also fixed a few of the more glaring grammar issues:
Can this be true? Peoples salaries are being cut and we’re losing work days to furloughs and the MTA is RAISING fares? Not to mention all the unemployed people who can barely afford to get around on the bus as it is. What are they thinking? How is this a good thing?
I agree, it is fair to raise the Metro Fares as outlined in the agency’s Board of Directors plan. What the Board is missing, is revenue can be generated with more than the simple notion of raising fare rates.
The metro system in Los Angeles differs from large metropolises across the country in that fare payment is based on an honor system. In New York City, for example, you must insert your fare card and walk through a turnstile that spans from floor to ceiling before entering the subway systems.
The, excuse the term, “dinky” turnstiles mounted in the last few months prove to be a simple hazard in the way of patrons. Any person simply walks through the turnstile without proving payment. I am unsure of the true purpose of these turnstiles. Why not follow other cities and employ turnstiles that actually stop non-paying individuals from entering the metro corridors? In my opinion the turnstiles as they stand were a waste of metro money. Use them as they are used in other cities, to enforce payment
Increasing fares will increase revenue and allow for further expansion of the metro system and that should be paired with employing an entry system that forces patrons to pay for the service provided.
***I have no problem with fare increases–in fact, I would be in favor of a steeper fare increase–as long as transfers are free. It is SO frustrating to just BARELY miss a train because you had to stop to buy a ticket, or to have to wait in a long line at the bus stop for everyone to pay.
Dear Steve — While I think you make some fair points (no pun intended) about the fare increases, I do find that the comparison to the cost as it relates to other major cities is a bit unfair.
You did note this in your post as something others might coin in on, but I do find a sticky point to this that you didn’t directly address. While true that even with our fare increase L.A.’s monthly pass is cheaper…I do think it must be taken into consideration that the cities you indicated have a better social acceptance as public transit-friendly cities.
It’s not necessarily about what system is better – each have their own complexities and their own pros and cons. I’ve ridden on NYC, Chicago, Portland, and D.C. transit and often make comparisons with L.A. but each situation is never going to match the other to model exactly.
But what I do encounter the most often as an L.A. public transit user (which I take everywhere as I don’t have a car), is the attitude of people who find it a miracle I get to most places on transit and/or who diss it completely as a feasible option for themselves. While this is also a matter of people perhaps not trying to branch out or are too reliant on their cars, I also think it’s a matter of the need for more and better outreach to change public perception, which doesn’t get addressed in this discussion of fare increases and therefore doesn’t get supported by it either.Charity***
There are many of us opposed to the fare hike increase. I have been talking with several bus drivers on my commute and they are vehemently opposed to it. This is just going to end up hurting US the commuters and lower ridership and INCREASE fare evasion.
Right now I can ride the from Woodland Hills to Long Beach on an empty TAP card and if the Sheriff does a control you just show them an empty TAP card and you’re on your way. Raising fares will only increase this sort of behavior.
I urge the board to not raise fares until at least 2011 or 2012 when the economy start picking up… I also oppose the Freeway Fare Zone system. It is not fair for commuters to have to pay extra when someone can go from Woodland Hills to Long Beach on a $5 day pass and we have to pay $2.40 increasing to $2.80 in your proposed fare hike.
While those fares are higher, some have time expiration and can be used on subsequent rides, making a 3 bus ride trip $2, not $3.25.
Joel’s reply brings up an interesting point- should Metro keep base fares low with no transfers, or raise them to the national standard and include transfers? You can’t have it both ways.
Please, yet we pay the highest in everything else i.e. taxes, into the city. On top of that we have the highest unemployment rate in all the USA, so now put those statistic in comparison to the asinine bar graph MTA is showing us…
Bottom line… An increase will hurt us not better us as commuters, so if you ask me this “special meeting” is a bunch of political BS!
The people aren’t stupid Metro. Keep in mind there are people who are on Facebook who do actually take the bus. And we know you’re system is not WORKING. It’s actually pretty crappy. I take at least six modes of your transport a day to a job so I know. I think your internet thing has backfired. Public transit users go online. Pretty amazing isn’t … See Moreit, so I”m not sure how you’re going to get away with the whole you’re ok lying thing, but whatever it’s fun to watch your PR department do backflips for you.
Those are all good points. How about better enforcement of fare payment? If everyone riding were really paying, that would help recoup the costs. And how are the fare evaders going to pay a higher fare if they don’t pay the cheaper fare now?
I can affirm that the Atlanta public transportation system is far worst than the LA system – and Atlanta has the nerve to charge a lot more.
In Atlanta: Buses rarely run after midnight. Also take a look at the Atlanta public transportation system’s train map. You’ll see it leaves a lot to be desired.
LA Metro isn’t the best system I’ve used (that honor goes to NYC), but it’s a long long way from being the worst.