Metro CEO proposes lowering cost of day pass to $5 to counter high gas prices

With gas prices high and likely going higher by summer, Metro CEO Art Leahy is proposing to lower the cost of a Metro day pass from $6 to $5 effective July 1.

The discount would be a test program lasting six months. The lower fare would not require public hearings but does need the approval of two-thirds of the Metro Board of Directors. The Board will likely consider the issue at their May meeting.

A day pass allows Metro customers to take an unlimited number of rides during a calendar day. At $5, anyone making four or more rides on Metro buses or rail is effectively getting a discount over the normal $1.50 per ride fare.

The discount could cost Metro as much as $6 million annually. But agency officials believe that the cost should be made up by ridership gains as a result of the discount.

In 2008, when gas prices stayed over $4 for much of the late spring and summer, Metro’s bus ridership saw a 10 percent increase and rail ridership rose 18 percent over the previous year. Even with a sluggish economy and high unemployment, Leahy has told Metro staffers that he wants to be pro-active since it seems likely that ridership is already on the rise.

Among other measures that Metro intends to take:

•Shorten the scheduled time between Silver Line express buses from the South Bay into downtown Los Angeles and also lower the base fare.

•Deploy longer trains on the Gold Line during rush hour and other peak periods to handle additional crowds.

•Decrease the time between trains on the Gold Line to East Los Angeles from 7.5 minutes during rush hours to five minutes or less.

•Add more trains cars on the Metro Red Line subway during peak and off-peaks to increase capacity. In addition, by June Metro will try to run trains every five minutes on the Red Line during rush hours — about twice as many trains as currently scheduled.

•Defer the sale of about 100 buses that are slated for retirement. These buses will remain available to Metro should additional demand require bus service to be beefed up.

•Work with Metrolink to determine exactly which services their riders are transferring to at Union Station. This will allow Metro to better target service demand increases on buses, light rail and the subway.

•Increase the number of times Metro monitors passenger loads on buses and trains. More of these ‘ride checks’ will better allow Metro to determine where service is needed.

3 replies

  1. While I appreciate the “good will” sentiments behind this proposal, it makes no sense from a business point of view and delivers a very mixed message. Recent service cuts have been blamed primarily on funding cutbacks and, in general, lower revenues. So now, Metro is saying it’s okay to cut its day pass revenue by 16.7%? You can’t have it both ways, folks; make up your minds. Frankly, at $6 — especially with the high cost of gasoline — Metro fares are a great bargain as it is. If you can afford to cut fares, leave them where they are and add back in some service.

  2. Kudos to METRO for this action.

    Unfortunately the oil companies, who are posting record profits (at a time where there is actually no shortage of oil) are not following your great example.

    I started driving MUCH less in 2008. Each month my use of the Metro increases. I used to ride the Metro for reasons of speed, ease around many areas of the city and not needing to park. I also get more exercise if I wish to get off a few stops sooner or later than my destination.

    I now have one more good reason to use the L.A. Metro…. I fill my gas tank less often and that makes me happy on MANY levels.

    Stick it to the oil companies, ride Metro!

  3. @bzcat: I highly support you. The link to your support is found here:

    Besides for the need for Metro to eliminate the express fare on the Silver Line, they literally need to create awareness for the line. Many South LA residents don’t even know the line exists at all. WHY?None of the bus timetables show the Silver Line’s actual route. Many of them don’t even show the Silver Line stations on the Harbor Transitway. If you look at a route such as Line 81: there is no indication of stations of the Silver Line. The Silver Line route is not even displayed. I already bought this issue to Metro & I am still waiting for a response.

    Moreover, Metro should consider redesigning the Silver Line street stops to street stations. Something like this: (Go down to Boston Silver Line). Passengers will be able to recognize the silver line. The current silver line street stops are a joke! I do not understand how a bus rapid transit line bus stop can have various cheap & bad stops. All of the Silver line street stops have no timetable displays, no go metro rail/liner maps, fare information & more importantly the signage is terrible. The silver line needs to have its designated bus stops with all of the amenities said above.