Board meeting recap; draft bus plan released for public review and motion OKd to study free transit for students

The January meeting of the Metro Board of Directors is in the books. The agenda is here. Among some of the notable items tackled:

•The Board approved releasing the draft NextGen Bus Plan for public review. Please see this Source post for more info about the draft plan.

Metro will hold public workshops in February and March and, prior to that, Metro will release line by line maps of the proposed changes. Staff report and attachments

•The Board approved a motion by Board Members — see below for the exact language — directing Metro to study providing free transit to high school and community college students.

There was certainly support from many Board Members for the idea — but Board Members also said they wanted more information about costs and the need in various school districts, including the LAUSD (by far the largest in L.A. County). Many of the potential benefits of such a plan were cited: improving mobility for young people, cost savings for families and increased transit ridership.

•The Board authorized a pilot program on the I-10 ExpressLanes that would provide toll-free travel to buses and registered vanpools as part of the I-10 the ExpressLanes/Busway Pilot Implementation Plan.

What happens next: a robust public outreach and education campaign will be conducted. A phased approach to implementation is planned beginning with Phase 1 which will allow only buses and registered vanpools to travel toll free. Following data collection and analysis of Phase 1, implementation of Phase 2 could allow vans and carpools of fiver or more to also travel toll free on the I-10 ExpressLanes.

The changes associated with this the Pilot are in response to slower speeds in the ExpressLanes due, in part, to motorists misrepresenting occupancy to evade tolls, and the need to improve transit on-time reliability. Phase 1 of the Pilot would not begin until later this year and would also include extensions of the customer loyalty and rewards programs. Staff report

•The Board approved Metro’s program with Via for six months to offer on-demand rides to/from to or from Burbank Metrolink, Burbank Airport Metrolink, North Hollywood, El Monte, Artesia, Compton, Willowbrook/Rosa Parks, Avalon, and Long Beach stations — and to extend hours and weekend service. Staff report and attachments and the Ride With Via page on

•The Board authorized a $32.5-million contract with STV Incorporated (STV) to provide environmental, advanced conceptual engineering design and optional preliminary engineering for the Green Line Extension to Torrance light rail project. Staff report and attachments


15 replies

  1. the tolls needs to apply to all users except buses, vanpools or passengers vehicles with government registered license. No other vehicles should receive toll wavier period. The tolls are not high enough to get people to use public transportation either. The policies need to be change to prioritize buses including bus only land on the express lanes forget those cheating private vehicles. Plus non passengers vehicles such as trucks are NOT SUPPOSED to be on the express lanes as they are slow and do not carry passengers, they require to use the regular right two lanes on the freeway. If you take the buses you would realize the overall speed on the express lanes are slowing down consistently and standstill traffic is getting worse even in the afternoon peak hours.

  2. Also, what happened to the occupancy detection system? That needs to be implemented along with any HOV 5+, since we know that at least 25% of “carpoolers” are single occupant vehicles cheating.

    • Hi Henry,

      Staff will be monitoring the effectiveness of the Occupancy Detection System proof of concept on both the I-10 and I-110 in the coming months, and will use the findings to assess whether ODS will continue to serve a role in verifying HOV2 and HOV3 vehicles on I-10 during the I-10 Pilot for the purposes of the Carpool Loyalty Program, which is being considered for expansion under the I-10 Pilot.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. When the ExpressLanes first debuted, The Source reported on the countless warning letters sent out to non-compliant drivers.

    But now the toll lanes have so many cheats that the system is beginning to slow down!

    What happened to all that enforcement capacity?

    Has anybody estimated the amount of revenue Metro would be collecting if every fine was enforced?

  4. Just make the bus free or hire security guards to protect the drivers. Those fares would be $7 if metro wanted to break even on the bus divisions anyway, and the de facto unenforced fares create a weird power dynamic on the crappier lines That really sets off the psychos.

  5. As a kid who had young (irresponsible) parents, I had to choose whether the money on the table was lunch money or metro fare for years. This is a step in the right direction.

    • Hi Mark;

      Yes, motorcycles would still be allowed toll free. Sorry for slow response.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Whew!

        Yet another reason to save time, gas and money by moto commuting…or take Metro if it’s convenient, of course 😉

  6. Is electrical car okay to use on fastrak for free or they fall onto regular car which will require to have 5 passengers for free?

    • Hi sherkhan;

      I’ll have to check. I believe clean air vehicles get a discount but aren’t exempt from the occupancy requirements.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  7. Of course, government agencies lie to the public. When those lanes were built, three or more was required to use it. No charge. Now, it must be five or more. This kind of changing of minds is why local people cannot trust Metro when talking about expanding express lanes and a congestion pricing scheme. The word of Metro leadership (elected and appointed) is only good as far as you can throw the words out of their mouth. (About two inches.)

  8. About the ExpressLanes/Busway Pilot Implementation Plan.

    What is a “fiver”??

    Aren’t buses already free? What’s to study?

    • I think the major difference is getting vanpools into the lanes. The study is going to look at whether the changes speed up traffic, encourage more transit/vanpool use and cut down on cheating. We’ll have more as we get closer to the pilot program — which would begin in the later part of the year. Fivers refers to the number of people in the vehicle.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source