Hearing on fare changes adjourns after 165 or so public speakers

Click on a photo to see larger. Photos by Steve Hymon/Metro

The hearing adjourned about 2:15 p.m. after more than four hours that included a brief staff presentation on the fares, about 165 public speakers and a brief disruption near the end of the meeting that resulted in two arrests for disturbing the peace. One of the people arrested may also face a charge of assaulting a peace officer. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TWO FARE CHANGE OPTIONS.

Order was quickly restored at the urging of both Metro Board Members and members of the public who wanted the chance to testify before the Board. A vote on the fare changes is scheduled for the Board’s May 22 meeting — and before the meeting ended many Board Members indicated they will have plenty of questions  between now and then about the fare proposal and Metro’s finances.

Metro staff explained the fare changes, which are designed to prevent Metro from facing future deficits and to prevent service cuts. As staff explained, the changes would raise the base Metro fare but include transfers for 90 minutes — presently passengers must pay a full fare to transfer, even for a short ride.

As for the public testimony, it’s hard to summarize the views of 165 different people. While the Bus Riders Union was certainly present at the meeting, others appeared to be everyday riders who had something to say about the fare change proposal.

A few things I heard from speakers more than once:

•Bus service in some parts of Los Angeles County is not frequent enough or good enough to warrant a fare increase. Trips involving multiple bus legs, a few speakers said, can take several hours.

•There was no support for the second fare option which would have different fares for peak and off-peak hours.

•Several people complained fares should not be raised until the agency clamps down on fare evasion; during their presentation, agency staff said that work on reducing fare evasion is already underway.

•The most common complaint: affordability — many people said they make too little money to spend any extra on transit. “Some of you are lucky enough to have gotten an education. Think about the people you representing,” said one woman.


Some audio and video from today’s fare proposal hearing

Pictorial part 2: the public speaks at today’s fare change hearing

Pictorial part 1: the public speaks at today’s fare change hearing

Public hearing on Metro’s proposed fare changes is underway

A look at what some riders and readers are saying about Metro’s fare proposals


16 replies

  1. Ryan K.

    You comments are absurd. If public services should be free, then should we also have free electricity and water services because the LADWP is also a public agency? Should we have free sanitation services because the LA Bureau of Sanitation is also a public agency?

    When you go get a birth certificate, get a marriage license, obtain a passport, apply for a drivers license, or send out mail, should all those services be free too?

    There is a cost to everything. Nothing is free.

  2. Public transportation is paid through taxes and should be free, as a public good, to the end-user. It made sense to charge a fare back in the day when mass transportation was privatized – because operating agencies weren’t receiving the kind of subsidization that public agencies receive. Now, our mass transit is run as a public service.

    There is no reason that public transit can not be free. If just a fraction of U.S. military spending were diverted to public services, riding the bus could be free for anyone. That will never happen if everyone pushing for fare evasion continues to place the blame on low-income riders.

    Finally, if you are going to make a comment targeting fare evaders, I think it is only fair to disclose your income. According to the LA Times, “More than 80% of bus and rail riders are minorities and their average household income is less than $20,000, according to Metro data.” The amounts that Metro charges for passes are very difficult to accommodate at that income – and it is unacceptable to not account for that. The world is what we imagine it and make of it – and it is shocking to see so many people on this site who believe in a world where faregates and fare increases are the solutions to a deficit. You’ll never get better if you don’t want anything better.


  3. @Emmanuel – that’s the plan, isn’t it? I know on the Red / Purple Lines, you have to tap a valid tapcard to right (is gate latching on the Green Line finished yet?). But it’s easy to get around it through the handicap entry (which is not a turnstile) – people either slide through sideways or they walk through as people are exiting.

  4. No fare increase should be even “proposed” unti: 1.) there is ZERO FARE EVASION occurring, 2.) MTA executives have had their salaries reduced to that made by the average MTA rider, and 3.) an AUDIT is done of the MTA by the “Joint Legislative Audit Committee” that can account for WHY so much of the MTA money DOES NOT GO FOR TRANSIT OPERATIONS, when it should (P.S. developing a parking garage-with collapsing roofs in construction, “Master Planning” Union Station, and “redeveloping” a North Hollywood train depot are NOT “transit operations”!).

  5. Fare evasion is the main point here to be implemented. I use metro practically every day and every time I got to Union Station I saw many people evading to tap their cars to go in. They do not care all those police agents there. Metro should implement a system that will not allow a single person to use metro rail without tapping a valid tapcard.

  6. And nearly all the Board members attending stuck around for the entire 4+ hours. That impressed me. And as the photos show, they were paying attention.

  7. It would be helpful if Metro is able to list all the board members that were present at this hearing.

    • Hi LAX Frequent Flyer;

      The following Board Members were at the hearing: Board Chair Diane DuBois, Board Vice Chair Eric Garcetti, Gloria Molina, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Zev Yaroslavsky, Mike Bonin, Jackie Dupont-Walker, John Fasana, Ara Najarian, Paul Krekorian and Pam O’Connor.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  8. Bus operators are not responsible to ensure people pay and act civilized and not commit crimes. They are not police nor sheriffs. Bus operators are trained to not confront, aprehend or question unruly patrons and put up any sort of fight. Does you job require you to fight crime as part of the job description? Thought so. And no I’m not a bus operators, just stating obvious points.

  9. When Metro get the people who fal to pay the fare then there should be no fare increase. When the Pacific Electric ran in the Los Angeles area they only raised the fare three times in the company running from 1899 to 1953. We need better ways to get around in LA and Metro is not it. maybe Pacific Electric should come back and be better.

  10. “Bus service in some parts of Los Angeles County is not frequent enough or good enough to warrant a fare increase. Trips involving multiple bus legs can take several hours.”

    ^ Why the free transfer period should be among the longest—if not THE longest—nationwide. If Minneapolis can do 2.5 hours, LA should do 3.

    “Several people complained fares should not be raised until the agency clamps down on fare evasion.”

    ^ Main reason for revenue deficit #1: rather than randomly harassing everyone exiting train stations, let’s improve and monitor payment terminals to, y’know, catch fare evasion when it happens.

    “The most common complaint: affordability — many people said they make too little money to spend any extra on transit.”

    ^ Main reason for revenue deficit #2: Metro needs to focus on attracting more middle- and upper-class customers via continued improvement, expansion, and proper marketing. They, not low-income people, are the ones with the money that you seek (and need).

  11. It has to be by far and away the cheapest in the country! The BRU tried a hunger strike for the increase from 1.25 to 1.50, which is a bit much. The fare increase must go through or if these people they are being cheated by the price for an trip on MTA, see what a trip on SFMUNI, BART, MARTA, or NYMTA would cost them.

  12. The comments about fare evasion are valid points. Why should we pay more when so many people are paying nothing?

    Also valid is the comment about long trips on the train or bus. To get from Azuza to Fairfax/ Wishire (on of my frequent destinations takes more than two hours and two trains and a bus. This is ridiculous and not worth increased fare. Likewise a trip from Azuza to long beach, another of my frequent destinations takes almost three hours.

  13. I was there the whole time. And all the comments by the BRU flash mob were amazing! AMAZINGLY STUPID that is! They frequently went over the time limits, the tactics they played, the ruckus and especially the commotion at the end which lead up to an arrest was exactly the kind of behavior that I expect from these people – no manners, no civility, and no common sense.

    This is the kind of unrest and disorder that happens when you give out too many handouts. They want free food. They want free shelter. They want free clothing. And now they want free transportation. They wanted fare enforcement to be done away with, they wanted to ban cars, they even called for 100% free public transportation! Everything has a cost. When you use it, you have to pay for it. It’s common sense. It’s honesty. Yet these people don’t want to play by the rules. And their actions at this fare hike meeting showed exactly what they were.

    And who pays for these handouts? Us, the taxpayers. Yes, we the taxpayers have to foot the bill to these left wing socialists.

    Compared to these folks, those who were for the option 1 fare increase and the several of those who asked to look into an option 3 for distance based fare pricing were far more well mannered. They followed the rules, they kept their statements brief and to the point, kept it under 1 minute rule, and they all made excellent arguments instead of resorting to chaos, feel sorry for me sob stories, and violence.

    I think the politicians should throw out all the arguments made by the BRU socialists. . They need to learn manners first and act like civilized people. The only good ones that I heard today were the option 1 folks and the option 3 distance based arguments today.

  14. Yes,there should not be a fare increase. Why? For the following reasons: The most important is fare evasion, I’ve seen some riders sneak in through the rear exit then the buses make a stop, and the bus operators don’t do a thing. I have also seen when buses are late, the operator blocks or covers the fare box and just waves the people in without stopping them. There needs to be better fare boxes, too many break down. Furthermore, the bus operators allow too many riders to get with stuff, such as loud music, eating, drinking (especially alcohol in the back of the bus,) drug dealing,rowdy people,littering and other violations of the code of conduct.
    Want to help the short fall of funds? How about cutting the size of the Broad and cutting their pay. Instead of trying to balance it on the back of the people. Since I don’t have a car ( which I would rather use than the bus) I’m a prisoner of this terrible system.
    Will these comments reach the people in charge of making the fare change?
    Thank you
    Patrick Trevino (A rider off and on for about 30 yrs.)