Angels Flight Railway to increase fare; Metro passholders ride for half-price

Here’s the news release from Metro:

Beginning Monday, March 12, 2012, the one-way fare on the historic Angels Flight® Railway in Downtown Los Angeles will increase to 50 cents. However, holders of valid Metro Passes still will be able to ride for just one quarter.

“In December, Angels Flight® celebrated the 110th Anniversary of its 1901 opening,” said Railway president John H. Welborne. “When Colonel J.W. Eddy originally opened Angels Flight®, a ride cost only a penny, and the fare has been 25 cents per ride since 1996. For the past eighteen months, we have been contemplating raising the fare to 50 cents, and that increase will become effective on Monday, March 12.”

Welborne said that revenues from the fare box have never covered completely the annual operations and maintenance costs and that the nonprofit Angels Flight® Railway Foundation has made up the difference through charitable fundraising in support of the Railway.

Welborne said: “On occasion, we have received additional licensing revenue in connection with our trademarks and from movie shoots, such as for the new Muppets movie last year. But generally, it always has been generous donors who have made up the annual gap. But a number of our donors have suggested that our riders could pay more, too.”

In January, extensive carpentry and painting work was performed on the approximately 100-year-old cars, Olivet and Sinai. Welborne stated “We take our stewardship role seriously, and such sophisticated restoration work is expensive. Even with this modest price increase, we still will not cover all of our expenses through fares, especially because we shall offer the 50% discount for Metro Pass holders, and we also will continue to offer our frequent riders a 5-ride commuter book at a 20% discount, that is 5 rides for 2 dollars.”

The historic funicular connects the Historic Core and the top of Bunker Hill and is locatednext to the Metro Pershing Square subway station on Hill Street between Third and Fourth Streets. Following installation of an all-new Drive and Control System, the Angels Flight Railway reopened for public service two years ago, on March 13, 2010.

Since then, except for periodic maintenance, the two cars of Angels Flight® have operated for 16 hours every day, seven days a week. Daily passenger service continues on that schedule, with the Railway being open from 6:45 a.m. each morning until 10 p.m. each night.

Details about the new fare structure are available at, at, and at

Photo by Chris Lott, via Flickr creative commons

Categories: Transportation News

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3 replies

  1. I used Angels Flight a lot and now occasionally. I can tell you at 50 cents I am contemplating accessing Bunker Hill by other means or routes. There is a tipping point for the shortest railroad in the world. Regular riders aren’t going to pay $1 a ride, should it ever come to that, and most users are commuters. That really adds up over a month. I still see quite a few people opt for the stairs. 25 cents is what made Angels Flight even an impulse expenditure to get up the Hill if that was our destination. I think the kind benefactors could have “paid a little more” to keep the fare at such a low level (25 cents) to ensure its continued existence because as it goes higher and higher it will attract fewer and fewer REGULAR riders, and the tourists don’t even begin to come in numbers to make up that loss.

  2. The original fare was 1 cent when Angels Flight opened, but Col. Eddy had to raise the fares fivefold to a nickel when he learned he couldn’t recoup costs. Adjusted for inflation, that 1 cent in 1901 would be about 27 cents today – higher than the quarter we currently pay.

    The 5 cent fare, adjusted for inflation today, would be over $1.11. So 50 cents isn’t really all that bad!