Metro will soon begin conversation on fare restructuring

As those who have been following the issue know, Metro CEO Art Leahy has been saying since last spring that the agency will likely pursue a restructuring of bus and train fares in 2014. The idea is to keep pace with rising costs, increase revenues and create fares that better serve a growing system.

And, yes, that could possibly mean some fare increases.

As Leahy told the Metro Board’s Executive Management Committee on Thursday, the challenge is this: the agency has been trying to create a system that makes it easier to transfer between transit lines but the current fares tend to discourage transfers by charging riders for each individual ride on a bus or train.

As part of the restructuring effort, Leahy also said there will soon be workshops for the Metro Board to discuss different scenarios.

I want to stress that nothing has been decided, nor is there anything on the table. In fact, there is barely a table at this time. One other note: while revenues from gate latching at rail stations may create some new funding, Leahy said that it will only amount to a tiny fraction of the costs of running the entire bus and rail system.

We’ll follow all fare conversations closely on the blog and do our best to inform you what gets proposed and why. Metro’s current fares have been in place since 2008 and changing fares is always a long process.

Categories: Policy & Funding

42 replies

  1. I support a distance based model, but for different reasons.

    The 720 bus is very crowded because everyone wants to get the most bang for the buck-fifty which is riding all the way from Santa Monica to DTLA/Commerce via Wilshire Blvd. And that’s why 720 is so crowded that it’s usually standing room only or no room to put in additional people who want to take shorter trips.

    Distance based fares would actually alleviate that problem because going from Santa Monica to DTLA will now cost more over a lengthier bus ride.

    It’s kind of like congestion pricing for public transit. If it’s crowded, make longer distance riders pay higher fares compared to those who ride over shorter distances.

    By doing so, it’ll drastically reduce the demand for long distance riders and we’ll have less crowded buses. This will be a huge plus for lots of short distance riders who live and work much closer. Furthermore, it’ll change the perspective of LA residents to live in a denser, transit oriented city because if people want to pay a cheaper price from home to work, they need to live and work closer than living so far away from one another and expecting everyone to pay the same price regardless of travel distance.

    If you want to travel far, pay a higher fare. If you don’t like it, move closer to your job or find a job closer to your home.

    If you want to travel short, pay a lower fare. It’ll encourage people to make better choices on how far they live and work.

  2. What about the train stations that do not have gate latching, and the passangers ride the trains without using the Tap Card.

    Employee’s who work for the MTA at the station are just talking to each other or just standing around and doing nothing.

    I am sure that the MTA has a few Dead Weights that take advantage.

  3. Tom A
    Normal service is determined by many factors such as traffic, passenger loads, etc. When there is a major disruption in service on bus lines that can be solved by both Road Supervisors and the Dispatch Ctr. As I stated previously, via the computer system used at the MTA all MTA ran buses are monitored through out the day for “On time performance.” Now it’s not commonly known but the Dodger Buses are not ran by the MTA but rather by a private contractor. They use MTA buses but are not equipped or monitored by the MTA. Why it took so long to travel to Dodger Stadium via bus only lanes is unknown to me.

    Now concerning rail. You can’t detour rail. When service is closed down in either a section of the line or the entire line for whatever reason a “Bus Bridge” is set up to transport the patrons. It takes time to set up and utilizes some buses, the majority, from bus line service. The MTA’s priority is rail and yes bus service suffers.

  4. I want a system that is fair for all riders.

    If fares increase, a lot of us who live in LA who live in apartments will end up paying more for shorter rides that it won’t be worth taking the bus anywhere no more.

    Where is the fairness if I have to end up paying $2.00 just to go one-way from 3rd/Western to go shopping for groceries at the Vons on 3rd/Vermont? It’ll cost me $4.00 round-trip just to go buy a gallon of milk and the travel distance is only 1 mile. It’s stupid to think that getting from my home to Vons and back will cost more than the price of milk! And what do Metro expect me to do? Walk with that gallon of milk in extreme summer and winter weather?

  5. mike dunn,

    Unfortunately, the US is not really the best and the brightest when it comes to mass transit technology. The best we have are diesel powered locomotives made by General Electric for freight rail since we practically killed off mass transit related production in the 1950s.

    Most people who worked in building rail cars are six feet under the dirt by now and since no innovation was made in the US for 60 years in mass transit technology realm while Europe and Japan were. There’s just too much of a technological gap between the US, Europe and Japan now when it comes to building mass transit.

    Sadly, the best we can do is try to have European or Japanese rail car manufacturers create jobs here instead and have Americans assemble parts that are built in Europe or Japan. We do not have the machines nor the expertise to make the train parts, Europe and Japan does.

    Or else, what else do you suggest to do? Import a train set from Europe and Japan, strip it apart, and hope to find an US manufacturer to build the exact same thing for us? Yeah right. We have no manufacturing skill anymore, everything is Made in China.

  6. Everything the MTA buys as well as other government agencies should be made in the United States hopefully by a U.S. company. That includes rail cars and buses as well as trucks and autos.


  7. mike dunn,

    Unfortunately, a lot of things that happen daily in LA are unpredictable and cannot be done with just data collection.

    For example, the bus to Dodger Stadium takes 1 hour to travel 3 miles. What is the justification of $2.00 for 2.5 hours? Oh it was based on an average of all Metro Bus lines in LA. Except, going to a Dodger Game in Dodger’s remarkable winning streak where everyone in LA wants to go to Dodgers Stadium clogging up traffic was not considered because it’s “unpredictable.”

    Take for example, suicides on the Blue Line. How are you going to get a predictable “suicide rate” and average down time incurred to clean up the mess from someone who decides to take his/her own life by jumping in front of a train?

    You cannot consider “travel time is already considered from various amounts” when there are so many uncontrollable factors like suicides, car accidents, crazies in the tunnel, OJ Simpsons car chases, etc. etc. which pretty much happen almost daily somewhere in LA. These things might be rare in other US cities and would make top headline news. In LA, it’s daily life it would be considered news if it gets 30 seconds of time on Channel 5.

    You all been there. Metro cannot control this, it is unpredictable, it’s only a rare occurrence, blah-blah-blah. Well, in LA these things aren’t rare. Something that happens on the Blue Line at one station affects everyone who has TAPed at all the other Blue Line stations.

    Considering real world LA problems, time based systems are too variable to reliably work here in LA.

    West LA Metro Rider couldn’t have said it any simpler way than anyone: “10 miles will always be 10 miles whether it takes you 20 minutes or an hour, whatever bus service you use, whether it’s over one bus or train or over multiple buses or trains.”

  8. Erik

    And do you have any proof stating that Metro is not doing contractual bids for faregates, TVMs, systems, etc? Cubic is not the world’s sole monopoly manufacturer of fareboxes, fare gates, TVMs, contactless card systems, etc.

    Let’s see, we also have:

    Toshiba, JREM, Omron, Nippon Signal, Techsia, Lecip, Agent Systems, Sony (Felica standard), Philips (MIFARE standard), globally standardized NFC systems, Hyundai, Samsung, multiple Taiwanese, Singaporean, Chinese manufacturers that are being used on their transit systems, multiple card manufacturers from the US, etc. etc.

    So are you saying Metro should be more “multi-cultural” by installing Toshiba or JREM fare gates like the ones used in the Tokyo Metro or JR Lines? Sure, heck I’m all for it. Those are waaaaaay better than the crappy Cubic turnstiles we have.

    Then again, importing state of the are high-end Japanese made fare gates and having them shipped all the way from Japan is gonna cost us way more than something that is being built 100 miles to the south of us in San Diego.

    Or let’s see. All fare gates are a made by some sheet metal, some plastic, solenoids, gears, and generic computer parts, optical and wireless sensors. Meh, if Apple can make iPhones using slave labor wages at a manufacturing plant in China, we could do the same and have them make it for us for 1/10th of the cost and have it shipped to us in mass droves.

    Or we can help the US economy by supporting US based manufacturers which keeps jobs in America, even though they do a crappy job at it.

    Seriously, Erik. You’re sounding like an aging old hippie who refuses to admit that Woodstock ended 44 years ago.

  9. As an actual bus driver, Metro does not receive fare from about 75% of their riders. Most of the riders are fare evaders. To say that they get monies from the “farebox” is untrue. A municipal transfer is to be used one time however these people will get off a Long Beach bus, ride the Blue line to the green line & still try to use it on another bus. The fare system needs some major restructuring. We are the cheapest ride in the nation. Most one way fares are $2. They give discounts to certain people but everyone wants to pay that fare. A mere quarter and sometimes they can’t even come up with that!

  10. Travel time is already taken into consideration when schduling buses. Every bus is monitored by a high tech computer and radio system. “On time performance” is a key factor in running the sytem. Said system can tell both radio dispatcher and road supervisor in addition as to if a bus is running on time, is off route(actual pin point location) and passenger load instantly.

  11. For those that are unaware many decisions made at the MTA are by individuals who have no transit experience. Thank god the CEO, Art Leahy does. I suspect that was the reason for his termination many years ago shortly after the creation of the MTA only to return as the CEO.

    I’m not sure if it still prevails as strongly as it when the MTA was created but those who came over from the LACTC were anti bus. Back in the early 1980’s a county proposition was passed to reduce the far from 85 cents to 50 cents for I believe one year on all RTD buses funded by a half cent sales tax increase. It was very popular and ridership increased. To meet the added demand the RTD put more buses on the street. The LACTC reacted by demanding that those extra buses be canceled. Their reasoning was that if more people rode the buses the RTD subsidy would have to be increased and the LACTC wanted that extra tax revenue to be used for their pet projects, none of which involved buses. While the RTD carried 85% of all the bus riders in Los Angeles County they only received 60% of the subsidies because the smaller agencies could not survive on 15%.

  12. Paul C. My point was that due to, and only due to the turnstile fetish, if Metro does go to a check-in, check-out fare system, then additional add-fare vending machines will need to be installed in the fare paid area. And these will no doubt be awarded to Cubic® as they have effectively created a situation where they alone can only supply any additions to the TAP system despite their documented incompetence in the past. Any attempt to obtain devices from any other supplier leads to a visit from the Cubic® legal team. Just ask Boston.
    All those other companies you list have won contracts with Metro through competative bidding and none of them have created defacto monopolies using jingoism and xenophobia.
    I am continually amused as to the enthusiasm here for turnstiles given the consistent levels of fare-dodging we all are still seeing; thus it is easy to believe many of the commenters here (or one using multiple names) have a vested interest in continuing this farce.
    Without the turnstiles creating a physical barrier between thee fare paid area and the existing TAP TVMs, a check-in, check-out fare system could be implemented with no additional equipment required, just as it has on, for example, Caltrain.

  13. I believe that the premise of any farebox reform worth supporting must be to allow greater guidance for system growth, disruptive growth, on a scale not planned for that is, and that does mean to also hinder very high cost service that should not be subsidized at all but presently is subsidized more then any other.

    As I’ve noted before additional infrastructure to makeup for that transit seizes should be on those who desire it in the form of toll systems for using one’s car. Plans to add additional miles on new elevated or buried pathways should be offered to car user’s, if they want to pay for it, but not burden the transit system. The transit system can and perhaps should be asked to pay for access to street’s, and as long as we pay as much as car user’s do, we should be allowed to displace or even outright ban them from interfering with us.

    For each passenger trip we take we use far less road then those who drive, and are when wanting to pay more to do so presently not allowed. Our vehicles are far easier to remove labor costs from, yet car’s are getting the investment in that now. Transit has been able to be automated entirely for decades- but our fares presently are wasted on labor costs entirely obsolete in nature when not squandered to remove us from our public roads literally under highway’s where the natural light does not shine and the air is made even worse by such close proximity to the wrongfully ‘upstair’s seated asphaulty hogs when it’s us who literally standup far too often for the entire duration of our transit service as proper mobility user’s.

    A fair fare is not more then cars pay for what they consume- and they consume far more road, which is what costs most in a well designed/invested in system, then any rational transit does. There is scarcity met by overbuilding instead of cost recovery deterence. Everyone should be able to get far better mobility with much less being spent if transit user’s money can influence policy instead of serve the car industry of yesteryear.

  14. Distance fares seem more practical on metro rail and the orange line and you do not need fare gates at every station to do it. Just imitate what Caltrain does in the Bay Area and charge anyone who forgets to tap out at an un gated station the maximum fare.

    Also Metro staffers have discussed adding a “virtual gate” (an array of tap validators forming a barrier between the pain and unpaid areas) at all the at-grade stations to remind people to tap their cards. So no one should have an excuse to not tap their cards on entrance or exit.

    As for the rest of the bus lines it is possible to implement distance fares on them but on heavily ridden like the 720 you really want people to be able to get on an off as quickly as possible. imho having people tap out on already crowded standing room only bus seems a bit chaotic.

  15. Robb,

    Distance based fares doesn’t mean all the stations has to be locked. If anything, it’ll encourage more people to be honest with TAP-in and TAP-out because if they don’t, they’ll be charged the most expensive fare.

    If a passenger doesn’t TAP-in at a non-gated station, and ends up in a station that is gated which requires a TAP-out on exit, if there is no TAP-in data recorded, the system automatically deducts the full length fare as penalty.

    Honest person going from Point A (TAP in) to Point B (TAP out) will only be deducted for that person’s fare share of travel distance, say 90 cents.

    In contrast, a dishonest person going from the same Point A (no TAP in from a non gated station) to Point B (TAP out required from a gated station), the full length fare, say $3.00, is deducted at the exit as penalty. This person could have saved $2.10 if this person was honest, but since he wasn’t, he got dinged for $3.00 on exit. If he don’t like it, he shouldn’t forget to TAP in gate or no gate, turnstile or no turnstile! Lesson served!

  16. In LA, one could be consider today to be a lucky day if it takes you 20 minutes and it could take as much as over an hour to travel 10 miles.

    Metro should do a time-based ride-along data collection on the bus routes serving West LA to DTLA to see how much the time varies to go from point A to point B depending on time and day. The 20/720 lines or the 2/302 lines is a good place to start. I bet you that going from a specific point in West LA to a specific point in DTLA can vary as much as an hour from it’s fastest to slowest, depending on traffic and weather conditions, no matter what regular, limited, or express services are used.

    Travel time is too much of a variable factor in LA. The only thing that doesn’t change is travel distance. 10 miles will always be 10 miles whether it takes you 20 minutes or an hour, whatever bus service you use, whether it’s over one bus or train or over multiple buses or trains.

    IMO, pay-by-the-distance seems to be the only logical choice when presented onto the table. The only problem is how to apply a distance fare system to buses. But it seems Singapore was able to figure out how to do that, so I don’t think it’ll be an impossible task to do.

    Whatever problems there are, another city somewhere in the world probably has that problem figured out already I say.

  17. Daniel,

    LA is a different animal than Portland. What works in Portland will not work here. There are LA specific pitfalls in using X dollars for Y time transfer type of fare systems here in LA.

    With how bad the city’s streets are with traffic in LA, even if we had $2.00 for 2.5 hours, an entire hour could be used up on the bus where it only travels only 3 miles. Go read the public comments on the last Dodger Game:

    You may think you’re getting a good deal that it only costs $2.00 to travel anywhere in the system for 2.5 hours. Except, you find out that the bus isn’t moving due to bad traffic jams and you just spent an entire hour to travel just 3 miles.

    Furthermore, we now have a TAP-in gated system. Unlike buses where the 2.5 hour clock starts when you TAP-in as soon as you board the bus, for light rail and subways, the 2.5 hour time limit starts at the time you TAP in at the gate. So, a person could end up waiting at the platform for as much as 30 minutes or an hour, if not more with service delays or the plague of “accidents” on the Blue Line.

    So you could TAP-in at 7th/Metro at 10:30PM, but the train doesn’t come until 11:30PM. You already wasted an hour of your 2.5 hour allocation just standing at the platform not moving anywhere. You now realistically have only 1.5 hours to use up your trip. God forbid that an accident happens further causing delays. Now you’re outta luck and have to fork over another $2.00 when you reach your transfer point because 2.5 hours were used up through factors beyond your control. And is Metro going to issue a refund? Yeah right.

    Portland doesn’t have to worry about traffic jams, suicides on the Blue Line, or poorly maintained light rail causing it to be shut down.

    There are uncontrollable factors which are LA specific things where other cities do not have to consider.

  18. RTD used to have discounted transfers. For a quarter more, you could ask the bus driver for a transfer and they gave you a transfer ticket to use for the next bus. This method worked really well. It was a choice between $1.10 a ride with and option for a transfer for $0.25 more, or $55 for a monthly pass.

    When Metro took over, they changed it so it became a choice between $1.50 per ride and Metro monthly passes, in hopes that people will buy monthly passes over paying pay-per-ride.

    Unfortunately, Metro didn’t factor in that most people’s transfers were not far enough to justify the cost of switching over to pay $75 a month. They thought that people were doing 10 mile trips and transferring to another 10 mile trip, when instead it was more like 10 mile trip and transfer to the last mile.

    People instead, turned to buying $1.50 single ride fares for the longest portion of their trips and instead, began walking and biking for the last mile, when Metro could’ve been making an extra quarter per each transfer ride for the last mile.

    This is why you shouldn’t leave decisions to those who have the slightest clue how to run public transit.

    Remember folks: using the honor system was Metro’s idea when RTD said it was a dumb move. And now we come back years later to see that RTD was right all along.

  19. Matt,

    Bear in mind that the $5 or $6 million a year in additional revenue figure is only an estimate number based on current ridership statistics and from gate latching the Red and Purple Line stations alone.

    We have not yet latched up the rest of the system.

    If it’s $5-6 million additional revenue on just the current ridership on the Red and Purple Lines alone, how much more revenue will there be when ridership continues to trend an increase and gates are latched for the gateable stations on the Blue, Green, Gold, Expo as well as the other lines that are in the works (Expo Phase II, Purple Line extension, Regional Connector, Gold Line Extension, Crenshaw Line, etc.)?

  20. Why not do what Portland, OR does and just charge on a time basis… for $2 will give you 2 1/2 hours to use on any bus or train. This will also solve the issue of the soon to be regional connector when the blue crosses over to the gold to go to pasadena.

  21. Erik,

    And I’m sure to you, every Metro Board member and Metro employee must own shares in Seimens, Kinkisharyo, Otis, Mitsubishi, Dell and Ford because Metro has government contracts to buy and operate Seimens and Kinkisharyo trains, Otis elevators, Mitsubishi escalators, Dell servers and computers, and Ford Escape Hybrids.

    Get over this “waaah, if someone is for this, then that person is a stockholder in that company and he/she must be getting rich” tactics that you use over and over again as if it’s going to help you win over people to your arguments. It’s getting old. If you want to be convincing, make a solid argument. Strawman accusations of someone being a stockholder if someone is for a certain idea is not a valid argument to be made in any rational debate.

  22. Does Metro receive any money from the citations the Sheriff’s Department issue? Is there data of the percentage of those issued citations who pay the fine vs those who skip out on the fine?

  23. Dana,

    Per my understanding, TAP was built so that it will eventually serve as a foundation for a regional fare system for all transit within LA County and our neighboring counties, which includes Metrolink.

    And, Metrolink uses a distance based fare system. If Metrolink uses a distance based fare system, TAP-in and TAP-out functionality has to be there.

    If TAP was implemented in consideration that Metrolink will eventually move to TAP, then TAP must have TAP-in and TAP-out functionality from the start.

    Furthermore, if Metrolink says next year that they will move to TAP (let’s face it, sooner or later they have to), how are you going to implement Metrolink’s distance based fare system within the constructs of TAP? Please explain.

    Now given that TAP is also built by Cubic technology which is also used by San Francisco’s ClipperCard. San Francisco MUNI runs on a flat rate system (TAP-in only) while BART and Caltrain runs a distance based system (TAP-in and TAP-out).

    So why is it so hard to do?

    To this date, no one has given a clear detail on what the “TAP limitations” you say there are that are satisfactory. Instead, it sounds like a bunch of the same old Metro excuses because you guys do not want to do a job that taxpayers pay you to do.

  24. Of course, we don’t and won’t have gates at all rail stations as most light rail stations do not have room for them and still comply with ADA regulations. People also need to realize that $5M to $6 million a year doesn’t even really cover the cost of the gates. It is not this big windfall people are imagining.

  25. Martin Cruz,

    Actually, the most successful transit cities (successful defined as high farebox recovery ratio, high ridership numbers and stablity from fare hikes) around the world uses a zonal or distance based system. Washington DC, Vancouver, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Sydney all uses distance based fares. Look it up on Google.

    And that’s what most US cities are beginning to look at these days. They are moving away from the free transfers idea and going TAP-in and TAP-out distance based model, for both buses and rail. Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, all are looking at moving towards distance based fares.

    Let’s not make the same stupid mistake like the “we should’ve done it from the start” like gate latching which costs us more in the long run to fix when we could’ve gotten it right from the start. Let’s not do something that other US cities are moving away from. Metro needs to study fare reform in depth.

    Who uses them today and which ones are also looking at (remember we’re not the only ones with fare problems, other US cities have the same problems as we do, so what options are on their table)?

    What are the pros and cons of each fare system?

    Which fare system tends to be used in the most successful transit cities around the world?

    Which fare system tends to have the best farebox recovery ratio?

    Which fare system is the most fairest for passengers?

    Which fare system is the most stable in forms of constant fare hikes?

    The last one should definitely not be overlooked. Those from NY should know this since all too well because they’re used to fare hikes over and over again.

  26. My understanding is tap in/tap out poses some challenges given limitations of the basic design of TAP. And as Robb notes gating the entire rail system seems unlikely for now. Most agencies in the region when they went to offering day passes discontinued transfers, much as Metro did. I will note the low base fare makes many folks want to pay cash for each trip which slows down boarding on buses.

    This will be a political process with the Metro Board members working it out among them — everyone else (including Metro management) are spectators of that process. The workshops will provide information that will inform the debate that will occur but the end result without doubt will be shaped by all sorts of dynamics, including some that I mentioned at the tail end of my recent commentary for Streetsblog on labor negotiations next year:

  27. Add-Fare machines? Yippee! More no-bid contracts for Cubic! Good job all you Cubic lobbyists and employees who comment here!

  28. Tom A makes a good point about the downfalls of moving to a free transfers under certain allotted time system.

    I know a lot of cities in the US uses a system like “X dollars with free transfers until Y time” but this is a system that works in smaller, compact cities where street traffic conditions are better.

    A X dollars with free transfers until Y time like San Francisco will not work here in LA. LA is a much larger city-county in area size than San Francisco. Metro has to cover a larger area than San Francisco. And street traffic in LA plays a bigger role in the amount of time it takes from point A to point B than San Francisco.

  29. Prior to TAP CARDS and DAY PASSES transfers were used. The time punched on the transfer was one hour and forty passed the time the operator reached his terminal.

  30. I agree, distance-based fares would work on rail, but only if turnstiles were installed at ALL stations. Unfortunately there are a lot of light rail stations where installing turnstiles wouldn’t be cheap, because major station reconfiguration would have to happen.

  31. Washington, DC, uses a station-pair fare structure. You buy a ticket which prints the balance on the ticket and records the balance on a magnetic strip. Then you put the ticket in a turnstyle which allows entry. At the destination, you use the ticket to exit which prints the new balance on the ticket and lets you out. When you get low, feed the ticket into a vending machine, add money, and you get a new ticket with the new balance. If you do not have enough to exit, the ticket is returned to go over to a machind inside the statio to add more money.

  32. I think it was unfair when the DAY PASS program and then TAP CARD programs were initiated which in turn stopped the use of transfers. Currently one must pay two or more fares to reach ones destination when more than one bus or rail line is needed to do so if the patron is paying cash fares. While transfers as they existed were a logistical problem the use of transfer printing machines on buses has always been available. TAP CARDS are great for regular customers but not for out of town guests and riders who are only using public transit in a emergency.

  33. No James, that is too expensive and that is the LAST thing we need. I have seen that silly system in Washington D.C and other parts of the U.S. Not a good system.

  34. From previous Metro articles, it seems the current Metro preference today seems to be time based fares, with the only justification being “the rest of America uses time based fares.”

    However, I’d like to make a comment to Metro planners who will be in charge of fare restructuring to outline some of the pitfalls of a time based system and why it will never work in LA.

    Previous articles mentioned how there is a rise in suicides on the Blue Line which contributes to a lot of delays. So under a time based system, once you TAP in through the gates or the validators, but somewhere down along the Blue Line someone commits suicide putting the entire Blue Line to a halt, the time could be up before services resume again.

    Another issue that I have is that since we’re supposed to TAP in at the turnstyles now, depending on time or day of Blue Line service, the person could end up wait as much as 20 minutes for the next train to show up, in which 20 minutes of that time is used up where the passenger is not moving, just wasting valuable time on the platform. Remember, unlike buses where we TAP in when upon arrival of the bus, TAP in for Metro Rail has to be done at the gates, which is totally separate from the time the train arrive. Is it fair to have the passenger pay the variable amount of time it takes from TAP in to the train finally showing up at the station?

    One recent article mentioned complaints about how the street traffic was so bad that it took passengers using Metro over an hour just to travel 3 miles from Dodgers Stadium.

    Street traffic conditions are also an uncontrollable factor. Time based means passengers have to factor in street traffic patterns in which travelling 3 miles can vary between as fast as 5 minutes on the bus to over and hour. This is all very well true for many bus riders who ride the buses along the most busiest streets here in LA.

    Furthermore, while LA is known to be sunny most of the year, we do have rain season in the winter. And any Angeleno can tell you that LA street traffic during rain season is the worst. Is it fair to charge passengers by time riding on the bus, when the bus takes forever to get through its route because LA drivers aren’t used to driving in the rain clogging up street traffic which the buses share with?

    They need to point out these cons of going to a time based system clearly to the Metro Board.

  35. Finally!
    I am happy LA Metro may be getting rid of the BRU imposed lack of free transfers on one single fare. I use Metro rail and bus service occasionally and it is annoying and time consuming that I have pay $3.00 to use two different modes and buy two separate tickets, while other public transit systems in this country such as NY and SF offer $2.50 on one ticket and you can transfer within 90 minutes. It is better offer for all riders whether choice or dependent because you need to transfer to get anywhere in this spread out city. I just hope the BRU and bustarians like Wendall Cox don’t sue you guys again and because you care building a efficient and effective transit system using different modes and not acting as a guinea pig for their social experiments.

    For more information here are posts about this subject from Transit expert Jarett Walker:

    • Hi LAjerry;

      The BRU didn’t take away transfers, free or otherwise. That was a decision by Metro.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  36. What Metro should do is to provide free transfers on TAP cards. In NYC (where I’m from), MetroCards include a free transfer between bus-to-bus, bus-to-subway & subway-to-bus.

    Most cities with major rail systems provide free transfers allowing riders to go from Point A to Point B. I think allowing free transfers would only ADD more riders to your rapidly-growing transit system.

  37. I second James.

    Flat rate fare hike is NOT an option. We’ve invested money in installing fare gates, we ought to use a fare structure that best utilizes fare gates. TAP in/TAP out distance based fares makes the most sense; pay less for shorter trips, pay more for longer trips. Its ridiculous that going from Wilshire/Western to Downtown is the same price as over 20 miles trip from Long Beach to Downtown and that MacArthur Park to Pico costs twice as much than Culver City to Pico. Tranfers or jo transfers, no matter how slow or fast depending on traffic conditions (which is why time based won’t work), the only static constant is travel distance. A 5 mile trip should cost less than a 10 mile trip which shouldn’t be the same or cost more than a 20 mile trip.

  38. We should go with a flat $2 fare, but free transers within the Metro rail network and 3 hours allowed if using buses

  39. I agree with James. People in other major cities in the US whether if they have a card or a ticket; they have to use it to get through the turn style and use it to exit the turn style. If they do not have enough money on their card or ticket; there are usually machines in the area beyond the turn styles where you can add more money for your fare.

  40. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: Latched gates would go really well with a TAP-in, TAP-out distance-based subway fare, in the style of Tokyo.