Proposal for restructuring Metro fares is released; fares would be raised and free transfers allowed

Option1

Click above and below to see larger views of the two options.

Option2

Metro staff released a fare restructuring proposal today that would raise fares in three phases over the next eight years while also making Metro more customer-friendly by allowing riders to board an unlimited number of buses and trains for 90 minutes in any direction for a single fare.

The proposal includes two options for restructuring fares. The first option would raise the base fare from the current $1.50 to $1.75 for the next four years and eventually to $2.25.

The second option would keep the base fare at $1.50 during off-peak hours and raise it to $2.25 during peak hours for the next four years and eventually to $2 in off-peak hours and $3.25 in peak hours. Both options with the complete set of increases are shown above.

The increases are needed to help cover the expense of running its bus and train system and to prevent a budget deficit in 2016, according to Metro staff. Metro has raised fares three times in the past 18 years, most recently in 2010 when the base fare went from $1.25 to $1.50. 

The proposal is a notable departure from the current fare system that requires passengers to pay a full fare for each individual ride on a Metro bus or train — which effectively punishes those who must transfer to reach their destinations (Metro customer surveys indicate more than half of its riders transfer to reach their destination). Metro staff say the proposed fares would be helpful to those using the Metro system to run short errands and will likely reduce the cost of riding Metro for some passengers.

For example, under the proposed fare system, a rider could ride from home to the supermarket and back for just a single fare — as long as they board their last bus or train within 90 minutes of starting their trip.

Under the proposal, the cost of daily, weekly and monthly prices would rise because pass holders tend to be the heaviest users of the system. Another significant change would be the eventual elimination of the current monthly pass in favor of the EZ pass that would allow for unlimited travel on Metro and other bus systems in Los Angeles County.

Metro staff are asking the Metro Board of Directors to schedule a public hearing on the fare proposals on Saturday, March 29 at 9 a.m. No fare changes can take effect until the Metro Board votes to approve them, which is scheduled to happen on May 22, according to the staff report. The Board has the discretion to accept, reject or request changes to the staff proposals. The current proposal calls for the new fares to take effect on September 1.

Some points to consider:

•Fares currently cover 26 percent of the cost of operating Metro buses and trains — the so-called “fare recovery” rate and the current average fare for Metro is just 70 cents. Those are both low compared to other agencies and will eventually cause a budget deficit as costs rise of running the system.

•The regular base fare for most other large transit agencies is already $2 or more. The New York City subway, for example, charges $2.50, the San Francisco Muni $2, the Chicago CTA is $2 for buses and $2.25 for trains, the Portland TriMet $2.50 and the Washington Metro charges $1.60 for buses and $2.10 for peak hour rail travel. All those agencies allow for free transfers within a 90-minute or two-hour period.

•Metro CEO Art Leahy has repeatedly said a new fare structure is needed to encourage more ridership and run a more efficient system. Riders sometimes take longer routes to avoid transfers, which Leahy has said doesn’t promote efficient use of the system and drives up operating costs. Leahy also has said that he expects next year to launch a major study of the efficiency of Metro’s route structure.

•The ability to transfer for free within 90 minutes would only be available to those with TAP cards. The reason: TAP cards will be the technology used to track how long people are riding the system.

•Metro last raised the price of the regular base fare and daily, weekly and monthly passes in July 2010. Fares for seniors, disabled and students were not raised at the time because they had been frozen by Measure R for five years.

The Metro staff report on the fare proposal is below or can be downloaded here as a pdf file. The proposal to call a public hearing is scheduled to be discussed by the Metro Board of Directors at their regular meeting on Jan. 23 at 9:30 a.m. in the Board room at Metro headquarters adjacent to Los Angeles Union Station. The meeting, as always, is open to the public. You can listen to the meeting by phoning 213-922-6045.

92 replies

  1. Metro Board should reject all of these proposals and make Metro go back to the drawing board. No fare hikes. PERIOD.

  2. Metro at its finest if you ask me.

    Years of high fare evasion and losing money under the honor system and now they’re making the taxpayers foot the bill through fare hikes and higher passes!

  3. The increase in the regular-to-monthly ratio from 50 to 60 seems questionable. It would seem to make the pass not pay, which would discourage people from using metro as their major means of transport if they have a choice.

    Also, perhaps consider adding an annual pass (preferably covering munis too), perhaps priced somewhere around 600x the single ride fare. London has annual passes, and they encourage people to make transit their near-exclusive means of transport. Also, some people get annual passes and then move out of town, which means TFL gets some nice free money.

  4. Option 1 would be the best change, imo. I don’t think we’re going to reach a ridership level that requires peak pricing for a while and it would probably reduce ridership if enacted. Paying a full 1.50 to transfer is absurd, I’m glad that’s off the table.

  5. Metro starts off with the honor system. Says it was fine and there was nothing to worry about. They come back years later to find out that it wasn’t working and that they were bleeding money up the wazoo for over 20 years. Metro jacks up fares to cover their losses.

    Enough is enough. You created this mess, you fix it yourself!

  6. Option 1 is the best option, but I would expand the time for transfers to be set at 2 hours. The proposed increase could have been worse (like option 2).

  7. That’s horrible, everyone in NYC hates what our MTA turned into and now a plan to ruin Los Angeles. Great.

  8. Free transfers within 90 minutes sounds good on paper. But in reality, it’s going to cause a lot more problems for Metro in the logistical handling of all of this down the road. Again, Metro tries to tie in a “smaller, compact city solution” of running transit that does not fit well to Los Angeles transit problems.

    I TAP in at the validator at 7th/Metro, the clock starts ticking down. I could be wasting up to 30 minutes for the next train comes. Thirty minutes is being used up not going anywhere, just standing at the platform. By the time the train comes, I only have 60 minutes to get to the transfer point which could vary depending on what problems occur down the road.

    Same thing with buses. I TAP in on the bus, I have 90 minutes to complete the trip. But realistically, that all depends on street traffic conditions. If there is a massive detour along the route that creates a gridlock, I’m wasting my time on the bus and may not make it to the next transfer point in time. So depending on traffic, if lucky I get by with $2.25 for two bus transfers. If unlucky due to traffic which is out of my control, I end up paying $4.50 for two bus transfers.

    I have said before that basing fares on time was too much of a hit-or-miss in LA and that we should just go with distance as the factor. Travel time is too much of a variable constant in LA whereas travel distance is a fixed constant. Travel a mile, pay a mile. Travel 10 miles, pay for 10 miles. It works all over the world, just like how gates work all over the world.

    Did Metro ever look into this option or was it brushed off aside, never given any serious thought until it’s too late to redo things like you always do?

  9. how about cut salaries or cut unecessary staff –other places do it why can you?. bus drivers are horrible, they should be drug tested more often; you should incease fare checkpoints in trains, half the people who ride blue line seldom pay. You want to raise prices as if you were OCTA, a nice, clean, and on time transit service- how dare you ask us riders for more money! You will push people like me to drive a car; so much for making LA a green city.

  10. After Option 1 elevated my heart rate, Option 2 nearly gave me a heart attack. So Metro staff believes these new fare structures would increase ridership but in the two tables, they both indicate ridership dropping by 2-4% with each phase. I used to think Metro wanted more people to convert to transit, but it doesn’t look like it anymore. Is it possible to look into a small fuel tax to exclusively fund transit operations and maintenance (no new construction, street beautification, etc) to help balance the budget? To ask poor transit-dependent riders to put in three $1 bills just to ride one way to work (or buy a $13 day pass) doesn’t sound reasonable. Also, while it is true that over half of riders need to transfer to complete their trips, many of these people transfer to a different agency, so not only would they not benefit from the free transfer, they would have to pay the much higher base fare and for the costlier transfer ticket. I believe Metro should find more creative ways to find new revenue (charge TransitTV more, get more ad revenue, leases for stores in stations). And if the FTA is causing this mess by demanding a 33% Farebox Recovery Ratio, then Metro should lobby them to consider other metrics to determine the success of an agency, including the mode share of transit, income of riders served or other things. Finally, is this budget deficit completely separate from the highway portion of Metro’s budget? How do highways not have an operating deficit?

  11. Single Ride / Monthly/30-/31-Day Pass Comparison
    California Larger Transit Agencies as defined by APTA*
    (excluding Commuter Rail, Metro Rail, Paratransit)
    January 2014

    (Sorted by ratio of pass price to base fare)

    Base / Monthly / Multiplier :: Agency [notes]
    $1.00 / $25 / 25 :: UC-Davis Unitrans [7]
    $1.25 / $36 / 28 :: Golden Empire TD [1]
    $2.00 / $57 / 28.5 :: Tri-Delta Transit [9]
    $1.75 / $52 / 29.71 :: Santa Barbara MTD [5]
    $2.00 / $60 / 30 :: Central Contra Costa TA [9]
    $2.00 / $60 / 30 :: Livermore-Amador Valley TA (Wheels) [9]
    $1.50 / $47 / 31.33 :: Omnitrans [6]
    $1.00 / $32 / 32 :: Santa Clarita Transit [3]
    $1.75 / $56 / 32 :: Vallejo Transit (SolTrans) [9]
    $2.00 / $64 / 32 :: San Mateo County TD [9]
    $2.25 / $72 / 32 :: San Diego MTDB/Transit/Trolley [8, 16]
    $2.00 / $65 / 32.5 :: Santa Cruz Metro [4]
    $1.25 / $41 / 32.8 :: Modesto MAX [12]
    $2.00 / $66 / 33 :: San Francisco Muni [9]
    $1.50 / $50 / 33.33 :: Antelope Valley TA [3, 13]
    $1.50 / $50 / 33.33 :: Oxnard SCAT (Gold Coast Transit) [5]
    $1.50 / $50 / 33.33 :: Riverside TA [6]
    $1.50 / $50 / 33.33 :: Santa Rosa CityBus [11]
    $1.75 / $59 / 33.71 :: North County TD [8]
    $1.00 / $34 / 34 :: SunLine TA [6]
    $2.00 / $69 / 34.5 :: Orange County TA [3]
    $1.00 / $35 / 35 :: Torrance Transit [3]
    $2.00 / $70 / 35 :: Santa Clara VTA [10]
    $.50 / $18 / 36 :: City of LA DOT [3]
    $1.00 / $36 / 36 :: Glendale Beeline [3]
    $2.10 / $80 / 38.1 :: AC Transit [9]
    $1.25 / $48 / 38.4 :: Fresno FAX [2]
    $2.00 / $80 / 40 :: Golden Gate Transit [9, 11, 15]
    $2.50 / $100 / 40 :: Sacramento RTD [7]
    $1.50 / $65 / 43.33 :: San Joaquin RTD [12]
    $1.50 / $75 / 50 :: LA Co. MTA (Metro) [3]
    $1.25 / $65 / 52 :: Long Beach Transit [3]
    $1.25 / $70 / 56 :: Foothill Transit [3]
    $1.00 / $60 / 60 :: Santa Monica Bus (Big Blue Bus) [3]
    $1.50 / $95 / 63.33 :: Monterey-Salinas Transit [4]
    $1.10 / $84 / 76.36 :: Montebello Bus [3, 14]
    $1.00 / $84 / 84 :: Culver CityBus [3, 14]
    $1.00 / $84 / 84 :: Gardena MBL [3, 14]

    Notes:
    1. Bakersfield
    2. Fresno
    3. Los Angeles-Orange Counties
    4. Monterey-Santa Cruz
    5. Oxnard-Santa Barbara
    6. Riverside-San Bernardino
    7. Sacramento
    8. San Diego
    9. San Francisco-Oakland
    10. San Jose
    11. Santa Rosa
    12. Stockton-Modesto
    13. Cash fare is $1.50 / TAP fare is $1.25
    14. EZ transit pass price shown
    15. [Marin Transit] Cash fare is $2.00 / Clipper fare is $1.80
    16. Bus fare is $2.25, Trolley fare is $2.50

    * http://www.apta.com/resources/links/unitedstates/Pages/CaliforniaTransitLinks.aspx

  12. There are additional things that could be done for Metro to benefit financially which I do not see included in the article. In many cities in our country if you park and ride the bus or train; you are charged for parking while using public transportation. They have no free parking available. Also, some cities use a mileage chart or zones where you pay for the amount of mileage you travel on a bus or a train. Metro has not raised fares in years; at some point transit agencies do have to raise the fares. When their vendors that they use raise their rates, such as to buy gas for buses or pay for electricity for the trains; Metro has to make up the money some how.

  13. Option 2 is way too sharp of a fare increase way too quickly – 1.50 to 2.25 for one trip and 5.00 to 9.00 for a day pass will be a huge shock to a lot of people and is difficult to adjust to. A 25 cent increase + free transfers is a LOT easier to swallow than the fare going up by 75 cents (50% increase) + free transfers and no express upcharge.

    I’d love an Option 3 where fares do not increase, but since this isn’t a fantasy world and fares have to go up, I think Option 1 is the better choice. I don’t think the lower fares of the silver line and express lines (elimination of surcharge) justifies the higher price of the other lines. (I also do not ride any express lines…so…)

  14. It’s really important that you consider local economics when you discuss what fares are elsewhere. San Francisco has a much higher median income than Los Angeles does. There’s a $15,000/year difference between SF and LA in that regard. Shooting fares up like Option 2 does is tough economically in Los Angeles. New York’s subway is a standard means of transit for the masses – in Los Angeles, the car is still king. There are a lot of variables in play and comparing our fares to theirs needs some caution.

  15. Charging a monthly pass for the proposed FY21 EZ pass rate is unethical and is blatantly an austerity measure.

    This business of trying to maximize a farebox recovery ratio is privatizing our transportation infrastructure. We pay taxes to support the system. I’m fed up with being charged for public services that we already fund — public transit should be free.

  16. Jason Lee has a good point about 90 minutes being too short a time — especially if bus transfers are involved. For example, one of us lives near the Metro Local 686 line. This line runs every 40 minutes (if you are lucky). For example, going to or coming from anywhere west of Wilshire/Western would not be possible in 90 minutes unless all connections were made without any waiting time. So that would eliminate a trip to Hollywood using this 90 minute transfer system.

    A two hour transfer time would be more encouraging for rider use. The 90 minute transfer system would force more use of day passes rather than individual fares — which may benefit Metro, but not the riders.

    Schedule I seems a less drastic immediate jump, particularly for single fares. Often we will hop on Gold Line rather than fight parking in Old Pasadena, and this is particularly attractive because the single fare is affordable.

    If LA is to encourage people to use Metro rather than their cars, the price has to be attractive. It is not an “apples to apples” comparison to use NYC, Chicago, or SF as fare examples because these are denser cities with less of a car tradition.

    We agree with many who’ve commented that more gate locking and fare collection are also a good way of raising revenues.

    We are proud that LA has a Metro Rail system (which in our opinion is a necessity for being a great city) and that our buses are mostly on-time and giving good coverage. We’re looking forward to more and better Metro options, so thanks for your efforts.

  17. The MTA is so pathetically ANTI-BUS RIDER it is not funny! A person used to be able to get to a lot of destinations on only 1 bus! That STOPPED, when the MTA raised fares in 2010, and a “forced transfer” was required, as the MTA knew full well, that an ADDITIONAL FULL FARE would have to be paid (or a monthly pass or day pass was required!). If actual bus riders got to determine where buses went and for how long, some LOGIC could be brought to the bus system. This will never happen. MTA bus riders will continue to be screwed over as long as the non-bus riding bureacrats that THINK they know something about how to run public transit, are running this pathetic excuse of a transit agency!

  18. @ Worst service ever, you have absolutely no idea how stressful it is to be a bus Operator. MTA management fires operators left and right for the smallest of issues. The public doesn’t respect us, we haven’t had a pay raise in god knows when, we do get drug tested on a regular basis. You have a lot of nerve to say we are horrible, what would you do if you couldn’t afford a car and we decide we wont come into work???????

  19. Raising the cost of an EZ pass to $110 in Option A or $135 in option B would be a devastating hardship for those who use this pass. You’re talking about jumping the cost of this pass almost 50% in one case. In many areas of the city Metro simply does not provide service – for example, the area around LAX and Venice, where Big Blue Bus and Culver City Bus handle Los Angeles streets like Lincoln and Sepulveda – and this pass is necessary. Raising the cost of it this drastically would make it nigh impossible for working people to afford to travel to their jobs and home. If you are working at, say, a $10/hour job – and many who ride Metro are working for less – right now you’re already spending more than one day’s wages on your pass. Spending an extra $50 a month essentially means you’ll be paying two days’ wages. Does Metro really believe that its ridership can afford this sort of hardship?

    What would we be getting for this increase? Would the buses that run only once an hour around LAX run more frequently? Would you return a direct bus link from Westchester to Downtown LA (gone since Metro decide that transferring between three lines – 102 to Expo to Red – was somehow more efficient and user friendly than taking a single bus, the 42, to Union Station)? How about more Owl lines, since areas of the West Side are completely cut off from transit after 10pm?

    Metro wants to increase ridership, but inconvenient schedules, inadequate service to many areas AND increased fares is not the way to do this.

  20. I would happily pay a higher fare to ride the train. The free transfers are great – paying for transfers on a subway system is pretty silly in my opinion. These plans look reasonable.

  21. …and meanwhile, even though Metro admits that they lose a lot of revenue with the honor system in place on the rail lines, the brand-new Expo line stations don’t have turnstiles. So people are still able to skip on the fares there. Way to go, guys!

  22. Measure R kept some fares frozen for several years. Perhaps Metro could roll out a smaller increase in fares along with dedicating a VERY SMALL percentage of tax revenue from a future ballot measure that Metro is currently working on?

    I would not want to burden the future expansion of public transportation with handcuffs because it is very important that Metro expand. That expansion will help everyone and encourage more people to use transit.

  23. RESPECT OPERATORS,

    “what would you do if you couldn’t afford a car and we decide we wont come into work???????”

    Cars aren’t the only way to get around. If car is too expensive, people can buy a moped or a scooter which is a lot cheaper, easier to obtain financing, and a lot fuel efficient than cars. For shorter trips, mopeds end up being a lot cheaper than buses or cars anyway, especially if Metro is going to do massive fare hike. Why should I pay more for poorer service?

    Furthermore, Google driverless technology is just around the corner. If you don’t come to work, they’ll just install Google driverless technology onto buses. If it cars can become driverless, so can buses.

    So, if you want to keep your job, do your job nicely. Your job of driving a bus can be replaced with robots a few years down the road. It will end up being a big money saver for Metro and will bring down the cost of fares for all of us if they didn’t have to pay for your labor and unions demands.

  24. Here’s my two cents explaining how things are done OUTSIDE of the US. Metro needs to learn that the answers to better public transit isn’t in the US, it’s learning from cities outside the US.

    This is how my country does it: Seoul Metro in Seoul, Korea.
    http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/ena/TR/TR_EN_5_1_4.jsp

    Base fare is $1.05. After 10 km, it costs about 10 cents for every 5 km. After 40 km, it costs 100 won for every 10 km. Simply said, the farther you go, the more it costs. And everything is so easy by just tap, tap, tap of the T-Money Card. When you TAP in, the card records where you got on board. When you TAP out, the card automatically draws down the amount stored on your card based on distance travelled.

    See this way, it’s simple. There’s no “will it I make it in time until my 90 minutes is over?” to worry about. All of it is based on simple travel distance.

    It’s only common sense. A flight from LA to SF is a lot cheaper than a flight from LA to Seoul, right? It should be no different with Metro. Pay less if your trip is closer, pay more if you want to travel farther.

    Why should the Blue Line rider going from Long Beach all the way to Staples Center only get to pay $2.25 because he/she is lucky to have an one-seat ride for such long trip, while a person residing in Koreatown ends up paying the same $2.25 to Staples Center? It makes no sense. Koreatown is much closer to DTLA than Long Beach. If you want to go from Long Beach to Staples Center, pay more. If you want to go from Koreatown to Staples Center, you pay less. If you want to go from the San Fernando Valley to LAX, you pay more. If you want to go to the local supermarket within San Fernando Valley, you pay less. If you’re a white collar worker who lives way out in the suburbs and commutes to DTLA, you pay more. If you’re earning minimum wage and your job is less than 5 miles away at Target, you pay less.

  25. Option 1 seems quite reasonable. 25 years ago the fare was $1.00, but min. wage was only $4.25 back then. Somehow we survived. With CA min. wage set to go to $10 soon, a $2 fare is more than reasonable, but people will complain no matter what. Can’t expect the taxpayer to subsidize more than 70% of their ride.

    I still don’t understand why seniors can’t pay at least the student fare. Many of them have big pensions and others have at a minimum nice social security benefits and of course free healthcare. We should at least ease the burden on the taxpayers by having them at least at the student rate.

    90 minutes is plenty time in my opinion. It is not meant for people going from Claremont to Malibu. Those people should pay $4. In SF, you have to pay something like $5 just to go from the airport to a downtown on a direct line.

  26. Oren,

    Correction. It’s “one free transfer WITHIN 90 MINUTES.”

    If no problems on the system, then fine. But what if the rail fails and shutsdown. Then what? Our rail system is poorly maintained and accidents happen all the time. There’s always delays so you may never get in time for that free transfer.

    Or what about when you’ve TAPed at the gates, but the train doesn’t come for 45 minutes because of delays? You just wasted 45 minutes just standing at the station not going anywhere and only have 45 minutes left to get to your transfer point. And if your 90 minutes is up through no fault of your own, you pay another $2.25. And Metro ain’t gonna issue you a refund!

    Or how about on buses where street traffic conditions plays a big role in travel time? Going 10 miles on the Metro Bus is never going to be the same time depending on street traffic. It could be fast as 15 minutes, so-so at 30 minutes, or over an hour.

    Free transfers within a time limit restriction works when the system actually works. It works better in cities that are smaller like San Francisco. LA is too big and the street traffic is too horrible and unpredictable to have a time limit attached to the free transfer system.

    Metro needs to:
    A. Get rid of the time factor and make it one free transfer included (no strings attached, no time limits, no gotcha BS)

    B. Or they find out another solution like basing fares on travel distance, something that always stays the same.

  27. Oh how I HATE HATE HATE these stupid proposed fare changes that it’s making me wanna give up Metro

  28. What if Metro offers $0.75 one way on Metro buses with TAP cards and still $1.50 at Rail/Orange Line and with cash on buses?

  29. Same Mark. I have a car that pushes 40 MPG but still take the Metro because I’m from New York and just love public transportation. But if it becomes more to take the subway than to drive, I’ll just drive more.

  30. The fact is that no one uses distance based fares in the United States on the bus system, at the scale that would be necessary on the Metro system. Imagine all those queues that would occur when people have to tap out of the bus – there would also need to be over double the number of validators now.

    I think you can quibble on the margins – I would raise the cash fare straight to $2, with a TAP discount of 25 cents to eliminate fare fumbling; increase the “free transfer” period to two hours during nights and weekends in recognition of the decreased service available during those periods, and to stimulate weekend ridership; create a capped day pass where there are no more charges after four full fare rides, and keep the basic monthly pass to below $100 ($90 would be a fair amount) – but that is quibbling on the margins. And at least by giving people time to comment on holding the hearing on a Saturday, we avoid the disaster that was the 2008 fare increase when Gloria Molina pulled a proposal out of a hat at the very last minute.

  31. I agree with K-town commuter. The Taipei MRT system and the Hong Kong MTR system both calculate based on distance travelled. It makes the most sense and is easy to understand. Metro will need to put turnstiles at all station locations though in order to calculate the distance travelled. I think this should happen though to ensure that all people tap at all stations. Additionally the amount of ridership data would be invaluable to Metro in determining where and how to best allocate resources.

  32. The unlimited transfer policy should be extended to two hours. 90-minute trips sometimes do not work if a rider missed the second bus, and if the second bus route runs once every 75 minutes. Some routes (i.e. #190) does not run very often on Sundays.

    Metro needs to lower the price of a tap card to 25 cents to give people more incentive to buy them. A tap card should be given away for free if a rider buys a weekly pass or spend higher amount of money on passes. This will get the occasional riders and tourists to get a tap card when they weekly pass.

    The zone 3 express pass holders should be allowed to ride the Metrolink trains in L.A. County for free. This will get new riders to spend more money at the Metrolink system when they are traveling out of L.A. County.

  33. The 90 minute window is fine for buses running in L.A. that arrive every 5 minutes, but not for the Valley where buses arrive on average every 45 to 60 minutes.

  34. #1 – What the hell happened to the idea of Distance based fares?? I mean, I don’t mind paying $1.50-$3.25 to go from Santa Monica to Montclair in the next 15-20 years but I am pretty sure it will come back to bite us hard in the long run.

    #2 – is it 1000% certain that we will see more bus service with these increases?? If so, I am all for option 3. I am not asking for 3-8 Rapid service. But I rode the 780 Rapid yesterday and seriously!!! 30 min service between 9am-2pm?? The executives should consider riding the buses on the Hollywood-Glendale corridor between Thanksgiving and Christmas to see what this results in. Hell, ride the rapids on a typical weekday to see how slow some of the rapid lines have gotten as a result of 25-30 min weekday frequency and adding more stops on the Rapid Lines (Like adding a 704 stop at Gardner/Vista). I am so glad my days on the 704 are over and don’t have to deal with these kinds of issues on the Rapid 7 & Rapid 10.

    If option 3 results in eliminating these issues, I am all for it. Otherwise, just stop now, put the alcohol down, and go back to the drawing board and include distance based fares please!!!

  35. Henry Fung,

    You’re wrong. Salt Lake City is introducing distance based fares on their buses.

    And then if you’re worried about long queues, how then does Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong and Taipei where they manage to run distance based fare buses? Far more people use buses over there compared to any city in America. Do they have long, massive lines of queue?

  36. These proposals are to help with the “operating deficit”? You have to be joking. Metro will still continue cutting routes and reducing frequencies of routes and raising fares. That’s no fair!

  37. I agree with Dave.

    Do you guys all really think Metro is able to get their farebox recovery ratios up and this problem solved once Expo Phase II and the Regional Connector is built? When that’s built, it’s going to be the longest one seat ride in the system where people from Long Beach or Venice Beach can go all the way to the Ontario Airport for $2.25, while it’s also going to be the same $2.25 whether you take the bus for several blocks down to the neighborhood supermarket. People can go from a far distance from Downtown LA to LAX when the Crenshaw Line is built for $2.25, but going from Staples Center to Little Tokyo, less than a 3 mile trip is going to cost also $2.25.

    It’s totally ridiculous. It’s plain obvious that distance based fares is going to be needed in the near future as all these projects are built farther and farther out. I don’t mind paying less for shorter trips as all my stuff can be done nearby and I have no need to go that far. And no, I’m not a rich person living in a multi-million dollar condo right smack in the middle of Downtown LA. I live in a single bed room apartment and everything that I need to get by life is within a 5 mile radius. I rarely have to go that far, and I’m sure a lot of folks live just like me. But if I want to go far, I wouldn’t mind paying more for it.

    So why are we sticking to this free transfers so long as it’s under 90 minutes idea when we’re going to end up redoing all of this in a few years down the road? It’s exactly like this honor system and gate latching fiasco all over again. Do things the wrong way only to makes us pay more later on to fix it again.

    You want to do it right, get it right the first time! Stop making everybody pay to fix it years later!

  38. I’d agree to this fare hike only if they revise it so as to give everyone a free transfer with no strings attached. No 90 minute time limit, no 2 hour time limit, just a simple free transfer whether you use it or not. It has to be ok to use for roundtrips too. If I go to a movie theater by taking bus and watch a 2 hour movie, I get to use the free transfer benefit for the bus ride back home.

    Of course, this idea will suck to those who have the need to travel shorter distances over longer distances because they’re essentially still paying more per mile than those whose trips are longer ($2.25 at 7 miles = $0.32/mile vs $2.25 at 30 miles = $0.075/mile), but this is the best option short of going to a full pay-per-mile distance based system.

  39. Henry Fung (@calwatch)
    “there would also need to be over double the number of validators now”

    Yeah, double. An extra one at the exit per each bus. Big deal.

    Those plastic stand alone validators probably cost like $20 per piece, probably cheaper when bought in bulk, and they’re probably made in a sweatshop in China or SE Asia. Contactless validators aren’t high tech space age stuff. We all have a similar NFC devices embedded in our smartphones these days.

  40. No way Jose! It’s already expensive it is at $1.50! All I need it is to go from my apartment to my job that’s 3 miles away from my home. Driving and walking is out of the question when you’re disabled. Can’t you guys find a way so that people who only need it for shorter distances get a cheaper ride and make the people who travel farther pay up more?

  41. In NYC the free transfer period with a Metrocard is 2:20. That leaves more than enough time for most people to make their transfers, even with delays.

    Someone on another page brought up an excellent point, which is that the unlimited transfers aren’t going to do a thing for those who need to continue their trip on another carrier. In a lot of parts of the city it’s impossible to continue your trip on Metro, you NEED to take a Torrance/Culver City/Santa Monica bus. Unless the drivers are going to give you a paper transfer to use on those services, there’s no plus for riders in West/South LA.

    Metro’s also losing sight of the fact that people prefer direct trips. Taking one bus instead of two isn’t just about economics, it’s about the fact that it’s more convenient. It’s better from a safety perspective (you’re not waiting for a second bus in an area that might be dark, desolate or unsafe) too.

  42. Why is Metro so fascinated to do things wrong all the time!? It’s like Metro doesn’t want to do anything that is common sense like distance based fares or ditching the honor system because they like the way things are where taxpayers keep throwing money at them instead of making money themselves! It must be be nice to work for Metro, easy job, cut corners everywhere, don’t listen to the lowly people, and pocket all the tax dollars for themselves with a big fat salary and way too generous union benefits at the expense of taxpayers.

    • Eric-you are using LOGIC! The MTA does NOT DO THAT! The fact that they would rather cut/eliminate bus lines, and NOT have fare-gates at light-rail stations for the last 20+ years, proves that LOGIC is NOT their strong point! I think they could make a mint off of charging bicyclists to put their bikes on buses, and light-rail lines, but that would make TOO MUCH SENSE! The MTA will NOT DO, that, which any competently run, private transit agency WOULD, and therefore, the idiocy will be perpetuated!

  43. Distance based fares makes complete sense.

    Why keep the “all you can ride” fixed fares and add the complication of some arbitrary time limit on transferring? It’s just going to create more and more problems.

    Metro never fails to surprise me…

  44. I just visited the Netherlands last month, where distance-based pricing on buses works great, with no queues for getting off the bus. It’s simple:

    1. Install 2 validators at each door.

    2. Allow people to tap out as soon as the bus leaves the stop before the one they get off at.

    3. Play an automated announcement, reminding people to tap out, before each stop.

    4. If you forget to tap out, your card gets charged for the maximum distance.

    Metro should crunch the numbers, but something like a $1 boarding fare plus 20¢ per mile sounds about equivalent to the proposed new fares.

    A daily cap equivalent to the price of a day pass (approximately two longish rides) also sounds like a good idea.

  45. The SF Muni has been using “unlimited transfers for 90 minutes on one fare” for years, with good success (and I think that when they went to that system, they eliminated the prohibition on single-fare round trips.

    At any rate, I’d actually get off cheaper, going to concerts, museums, &c. under the new proposals, because I’d no longer need a day-pass.