Metro to study and consider eliminating bus and rail fares

UPDATE, 11 A.M. FRIDAY, SEPT. 4: Metro CEO Phil Washington held a media briefing earlier this week to discuss fareless transit and take questions. Watch the briefing here.

UPDATE, 10:45 A.M. FRIDAY, AUG. 28: We’re getting a lot of comments expressing concern over how fareless transit would impact the homeless situation on the Metro system. As the post below explains that key issue will absolutely be part of the study.

UPDATE, 2:25 P.M. FRIDAY, AUG. 28: We’re also receiving comments asking if we’re planning to raise sales taxes to fund this (local sales taxes are a major revenue source for Metro). The answer: NO. We have no intent or plans to seek an additional sales tax. Rather, we’re going to study whether fareless transit could be paid for with grants from the state or federal government, existing revenues (such as advertising) and other sources.


A new internal Metro exploratory task force will begin working September 1 on a proposal to eliminate fares for all riders on Metro buses and trains, Metro CEO Phil Washington announced at today’s meeting of the Metro Board of Directors.

The effort will be called the Fareless System Initiative (FSI or OPERATION FSI) and the task force will deliver a plan to the Metro CEO and ultimately to the Metro Board of Directors for their consideration by the end of 2020 with the plan including possible funding scenarios and sources.

No other large transit system in the world has gone entirely fareless. In his remarks, Phil said that he views eliminating fares as an economic development tool that will also improve mobility for all people and put money back in the pockets of those who need it the most. That’s especially important as L.A. County recovers from the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Phil also made it clear that he views fareless transit as a transformative effort. Combined with Metro’s other work to reduce traffic congestion, fare-free transit would greatly increase transit ridership, free up space on our roads, help create more public spaces that better serve the majority of people, and improve air quality in L.A. County and California.

“LA Metro has a moral obligation to pursue a fareless system and help our region recover from both a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and the devastating effects of the lack of affordability in the region.” Phil told The Source. “Fare-free transit will help essential workers, moms and dads, students, seniors and riders with disabilities. I view this as something that could change the life trajectory of millions of people and families in L.A. County, the most populous county in America.”

The median household income of Metro riders is low — $17,975 for bus riders and $27,723 for rail riders, according to a customer survey conducted by Metro in fall 2019. We know that low-income people have been hit especially hard by the virus in terms of their health, jobs and overall ability to pay bills. The chart below from the L.A. County Department of Public Health shows that the mortality rate for COVID-19  has been significantly higher for Blacks and Latinos and those who are impoverished.

The Initiative’s task force will consist of Metro staff and will begin their work next week. Among the things that will be studied:

•Funding opportunities in terms of local, state, federal grants, and/or re-prioritizing Metro funds — such as revenues from advertising or sponsorships — that may be available to pay for a free fare program.

•The impact of fareless transit on other transit agencies in L.A. County. Metro will work with other transit agencies, to look at the impact on their ridership and the issue of local and state fund allocations – which are, in part, based on fare revenues. 

•Determining how much it costs the agency to collect fares in terms of equipment purchase and upkeep, staff and enforcement. In fiscal year 2019, which ended prior to the pandemic, Metro collected between $250 and 300 million in fares versus $1.9 billion in operating costs — for a fare recovery ratio of approximately 13 percent. That percentage has been in decline for the past 20 years and is expected to decline further as operating costs rise.

•The impact of a fareless LA Metro system on ridership, the rider experience, the 16 Munis, Access Services, Metrolink, the safety of Metro employees, the impact on car traffic, and the impact of a fareless system on bus and train service levels and operations.

•How fareless transit will mitigate and/or eliminate allegations of targeting people of color for fare enforcement.

•We also need to learn more about how a fareless system would affect the ongoing issue of homelessness in our region and on the Metro system, an issue that we hear about from riders almost every day. We do think that free fares would encourage higher ridership and having more people on buses and train would likely make riders feel safer.

As those who follow Metro know, going fareless is something we have discussed in the past in the context of the agency’s Measure M and it’s Traffic Reduction Study to use tolls to reduce traffic congestion and subsidize fares. That study is underway and in 2021 we will propose a pilot location to test the concept.

Metro has also been researching how to allow students to ride for free and conducting a comprehensive pricing study as part of the agency’s Vision 2028 Plan to provide high-quality and affordable transportation services available to all. The new exploratory task force will build on the work of the pricing study.

As Phil sees it, fareless transit should be considered no different than other public programs funded by the public purse such as firefighting, policing and other public infrastructure that serves as a public right and common good. In that sense, if approved it’s something that can change the social and economic fabric of our county.

The idea that a system the size of LA Metro could go fareless is certainly big news — it’s arguably one of the most important initiatives LA Metro has ever attempted. We also must emphasize this: this is the beginning of a process and until the Metro Board takes action, Metro is collecting fares and enforcing fare payment. We’ll also continue to find ways to make paying fares safer and more convenient, especially during the pandemic. There will be more news on that front very soon.

72 replies

  1. I stopped riding the bus/train since February due to Covid. I have been wearing mask even before covid due to the smell on the trains. Believe it or not, I even had red stain in my coat before from the seats. So I started wearing a waterproof one. Metro has programs for those who can’t afford the fare prices to apply for discount cards. I hope they can just continue to do that instead of a Free Fare. I have been looking forward to riding Metro again once the pandemic is over to save some gas, parking and maintenance money. I am afraid that there will be more homeless that will ride the trains and it will do more harm than good to go this route.

    * More Homeless
    * Less money for maintenance/upkeep
    * Less money for cleaning/sanitation
    * Safety will be more of a concern

    • That is exactly what free fares mean! Less safety, Less clean, MORE HOMELESS. If this is what you want, go ahead and eliminate fares, IF NOT, then drop this stupid idea once and aor all!

    • Hi Roman;

      The plan is to not cut jobs — rather redeploy staff.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • As I believe Public Transportation Services Corporation employees would be able to redeploy; however, I am wondering if union employees that are part-timers such as custodians, will they get laid off?

        I am a part-timer waiting to get in full-time position. I am worried that i could get laid off before the full-time position opens. And this is my only job and that I am the only one working in the family.

      • As I believe Public Transportation Services Corporation employees would be able to redeploy; however, I am wondering if union employees that are part-timers such as custodians, will they get laid off.

        I am a part-timer, I am waiting to get to full-time when the position is open. I am worried that I would get laid off before it happens. This is my only job, and I am the only one who is working in the family.

      • Redeploying staff to new job sounds great would there be any wage reductions in pay with redeployment and what will happen with the tap fare infrastructure system ,,

  2. You’re going to have the homeless riding the bus as if it was their home to sleep in. It’s enough that the homeless sleep on the train ride back and forth on the Red Line and Purple line trains. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got on the Gold line on a Saturday morning and one cart was full of homeless people riding from East Los Angeles to Pasadena/Azusa. It’s scary. Some of the homeless carry so much junk with them. I would feel unsafe riding the bus and train. You should find another way to help the low income people with programs that would pay for their monthly pass. Have them apply for discounts, reduce the monthly pass if you want to help everyone.

  3. bad idea! free fare will turn Metro train stations into homeless shelter and stinky bus at all time. how you going to enforce homeless person sleeping in stations and riding trains all night long just to sleep on them. if it pass, time to ditch Metro transportation at all.

  4. This is an encouragement of a fare evasion because it is going to give the homeless people more chance to ride without paying a fare, especially the bus or the light rail train departing from the station which is not equipt with the turnstiles.

  5. Could we consider keeping fares on rail, which saves time via auto traffic and eliminating on buses only to encourage first-last mile usage?

    Many people who take the trains do so because there a visible advantage to street travel and would rarely consider taking the bus.

  6. Less costly and safer buses ok. For revenue, provide thin electric vehicles with thin lane and parking space access: 1. For local transit, provide electric scooter share with bike lane access. 2. For regional transit, provide electric bicycle share and leasing with electric bike lane access. 3. For the most revenue and for highway-capable transit, share and lease 39″ wide road and weather protected electric cars with lane-splitting, HOV, and thin parking space access. Drivers will choose thin EVs over side-seated gas powered cars to bypass congested traffic. For the thin electric cars, start with demonstration and pilot programs. Federal CMAQ funding possibilities could apply.

    • What are disabeled people supposed to do? Your idea is a fantesy, as it will NEVER work!

  7. “No other large transit system in the world has gone entirely fareless.”
    Not true. Kansas City’s system went free last year. Sure, it’s not huge like Los Angeles’s but it’s not a podunk town either.

  8. “How fareless transit will mitigate and/or eliminate allegations of targeting people of color for fare enforcement.”
    Allegations is the right word. After all, if 90% of the people in buses or metro are so-called people of color (I don’t know of anyone of no color), chances are most people who skip the turnstile will be…. people of color!

  9. Thank you for the updates, Steve. Whether or not making the system free would cause the concerns would result in Metro’s vehicles becoming de facto housing is unclear, but what is clear is that it does lead to this perception, and thus, could drive many riders away who would otherwise consider taking Metro. LA’s public transportation works pretty well, and NextGen could make it better, but it does suffer from a very poor public image among the vast majority of the County’s residents (according to the Census, only 5.7% of LA County residents use public transportation to go to work, most of the rest would not even consider using the system). I think a much better idea would be to greatly reduce fares, which would encourage more people to try transit and reduce the financial burden on essential workers, without sparking the perceptions concerns mentioned in the comments. Furthermore, the argument used by Metro for the last round of fare increases, that the people who use the system the most should pay more and resulted in the monthly pass going up by $25 (33%) at once, just clearly did not make sense when the agency was wondering about declining ridership. A fair fare that is not zero would help a lot.
    Another thing I wanted to point out is that Metro has already publicly proposed two ideas related to fares within the last year or so. The more recent one is that Metro is already studying lowering all fares by 50% (May 2020). Is that study still happening?
    The other proposal was related to congestion pricing (December 2018). Mr. Washington already indicated that a positive outcome of that would be lower congestion, lower air pollution, and the revenue could be used to provide free transit “forever and ever.” I believe if NextGen turns out to be successful at growing Metro’s ridership, and congestion pricing takes effect to reduce driving, these two factors might be enough, combined, could make your thought true: “We do think that free fares would encourage higher ridership and having more people on buses and train would likely make riders feel safer.” For now, I think lower fares, not free fares, are the way to go.

  10. “As Phil sees it, fareless transit should be considered no different than other public programs funded by the public purse such as firefighting, policing and other public infrastructure that serves as a public right and common good.”

    With fare-free transit, it will become all the more important to eliminate the practice of favoritism to certain neighborhoods (multiple lines, frequent service) while ignoring the needs of those living in outlying areas with fewer public transit options.

      • The New Metro office of welfare Transportation free rides this will lower the values of every housing community attacked to a metro station this is a bad idea from her.

      • Phil Washington is try to create a transportation welfare system without the approval of the voters .

  11. I used to write the Metro when I first moved to LA around 15 years ago. Here are just a few of the great experiences:
    1, man walked around showing naked pictures of himself on his phone to passengers
    2, man assaulted another man in front of me–bus driver did nothing
    3, man punched me because my arm touched his back (it was elbow to elbow standing room only and I got bumped).
    Bus driver did nothing and people had to beg him to stop and kick the man off which he finally did. Driver would not even call the police.
    4, a bum was riding with exposed gang green on his leg that maggots were crawling out of and flies were swarming around. People were literally retching near him and getting off and about ready to throw up. Driver would not get him off and did nothing
    This is just one of many stories.
    Free rides is a stupid, bad idea that will make an already dangerous, health hazard system even worse.
    Thankfully I now have a car but I pity those that do not and have to write this horrible system that was generally never clean, safe, or reliable.
    5, Remember the time when a group of men walked from car to car forcing people to hand over their wallets near Long beach? Metro did nothing.

  12. No new taxes is just not true, more toll roads more fees ,driving a car will become the fare-box for every non transit-rider.

  13. free fare would result in less ridership because homeless people would live abroad the buses and trains all day everyday there would be gangs hanging out at station and on buses it would be a mess ,but if you change the far structure to zone fares depending on how far you need to travel the homeless would only ride as far as they need to go to avoid paying excessive fares this would lead to a safe cleaner more profitable transit service.

    • That is very true! Don’t make the METRO system a haven for the gangs and the homeless! NO FREE RIDES!!

  14. While it’s great for most people who want a free rides on Metro buses and trains to get to their destinations, there’s 3 scenarios that need to be taken care of, before the elimination of fares can be implemented. 1: sending the homeless population to rehabilitation programs and later permanent housing. 2: all street gangs (Crips, Bloods, Pirus, Sureños, etc) need to completely dissolved, thus eliminating violent crimes, county wide. 3: Defund the police departments and advocate those funds to improve transit service and infrastructure for a better future and hospitality.

    • I can agree with the first 2, on your list, but cannot even immagine defunding the police. We need a WELL EQUIPPED, WELL TRAINED police force. One that is WELL EDUCATED, as well, because, whether or not you like it, the ONLY thing that keeps people honest, is a well trained, well equipped, well funded, police department.

    • 1. As much as I would like to force vagrants into shelters, etc. groups like the ACLU scream that it’s a violation of their rights.
      2. and 3. So you want gangs dissolved and defund the police at the same time! That’s the problem with leftist thinking–makes no sense.

  15. Hey Steve, there’s at least one question to truly ask. . . what if for whatever reason this fails? Instead of the runaway success this idea could be, it instead fails and numbers tank, has Metro actually asked themselves that question? Setting aside every other argument, I am genuinely curious if Metro actually thought about the worst case scenarios here.

  16. The idea of of riding the bus for free sounds appealing, but it’s not realistic. As many, have already mentioned. Lowering the fare makes more sense. The homeless riding on board is a reflection of a state wide problem. While, there are voices calling to defund the police it is what is needed to enforce the homeless problem. Though, they’re a major concern there are people who are not homeless, but are foreigners who don’t respect boundaries and common sense when riding in buses. Yes, not all, but enough to comment here. And what about gangs and people with anti social behaviors? It becomes complex!

  17. Metro should not be a charity.
    Rather than completely free, consider using a super simple fare structure. For example, $1 per boarding ($0.50 senior), applicable to all bus lines and all rail lines, with no free transfer. That gives Metro some revenues, and gives riders some responsibilities, while maintaining the spirit of no-free-lunch, and also eliminating the confusion of transfers, rush/non-rush, local/express altogether.

  18. A lot of people have mentioned that without having to pay fares, homeless people will be riding the Metro en masse. But aren’t they already? Every Expo Line train I have taken since it opened has had non-fare-paying people on it with clear mental health issues because so many of the stations do not *force* people to pay in order to enter. Hence I don’t think that’s the right argument to make.

  19. Free rail and bus service is fine, however how much additional equipment for operation and maintenance would be required to accommodate the thousands of additional customers that will use METRO. At the present time, Metro has budgeted about seven million revenue service hours for bus and rail service. Around 1974 Los Angeles County subsidized low fares for two years. (25 cents daily and 10 cents holidays and weekends) without providing additional service. They eventually acquired some used buses from Atlanta Georgia. As I recall, they were referred to as the “Georgia Peaches. The problem was over crowded buses and customer pass-ups. Eventually many new customers that owned automobiles gave up and returned to driving. Once the two year subsidy ended and fares were slightly increased, many customers left the system. Los Angeles did not have the homeless population it has today. A lot of the homeless population at that time would only ride the all night “Owl Service”. Today, with the large homeless population, with free fares Metro may find a partial solution to the homeless population moving off the streets and onto the bus and rail system.

  20. Thank you for considering how you can help the people that rely on your transportation the most.

    I’m not surprised but continue to be disappointed in the trolls that can’t understand investing in our communities and helping even the lowest among us to prosper.

    I was a frequent weekend rider myself, yes there are homeless people, but I don’t see that as a reason to shy away from helping our working communities.

  21. This will just increase the homeless people and un-hygienic conditions prevalent on the bus/train/station environments. Not to mention criminal activity, in the past year I have been accosted by homeless people on the DASH, a metro bus and the L line train. My wife was spit on by a homeless man and called a horrible derogatory term. I think normal people who work hard, pay taxes and take their families have given up on Metro and it will be a very hard task to get them back.
    Providing a fareless system is not a good idea!

    • Count me among them…. Politicians and bureaucrats have let vagrants take over our streets. So we can expect the same with metro.

  22. I don’t think a completely fareless system is a good idea, though cheaper fares would be good for many reasons, unrelated to financial reasons. A $1 single fare and $30 monthly fare (with student and senior discounts, $5 day pass for tourists, $10 weekly pass) would probably do more to increase ridership. First, it would actually be affordable, unlike today’s $100 monthly pass. Second, a small fare kind of commits the rider to using the system (I already paid for it so I should use it). Third, making it completely free kind of reinforces the stereotype that transit is dirty and isn’t safe. Remember, unlike other places, riding transit isn’t considered mainstream in LA. However, a free period to help during this pandemic and economic recession isn’t a bad a idea, but should be clearly labeled as temporary.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more! We DO NOT need a fareless system! I say, raise cash fares to $ 2.00 per Adult, $ 1.00 for Children, Seniors, Teens, and Disabeled. Give deep discounts to those who use Monthly Passes, Day Passes @ $ 5.00 each, Weekly Passes @ $ 20.00 each, and ALL of these sold on EVERY METRO bus and in EVERY METRO station vending machine. Introduce a 31 day pass that can be purchased EVERYWHERE.

  23. John610,

    If you’re complaining about the potential increase in taxes due to this move, I can’t wait to see your face when you find out how much car driving is subsidized. But that of course is a-okay.

    • Hi Pete610;

      Thank you for making that point about driving. And to be clear: we’re not pursuing a new sales tax to fund this.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  24. Will the study include looking at the current fareless situation on buses due to COVID-19? Obviously ridership isn’t what it was before, but it’s gone back up on many lines in the last few months, due to the number of businesses that have reopened.

    • Hi Pat;

      Excellent point and my understanding is that will be looked at.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • maybe to test it out during rush hours only to see if it leads to more ridership but not an all day everyday thing.

  25. Sorry, but this is a terrible idea, unless you want to convert the trains and buses into rolling homeless shelters and drive away any riders of choice you might have had. Without the ability to eject non-paying riders your ability to enforce social behaviour will become infinitely more difficult.

    Your job is providing transportation: you are not a social services agency and homelessness, begging, and all the other ills of society are not in your wheelhouse to solve. If agencies or individuals feel that people need help paying the fare, let them purchase fare products from Metro from their own resources and hand them out themselves.

  26. I just don’t see how they can do this. How will they make up the budget shortfall? You will basically force people that never take mass transit to subsidize the system even more. If you thought the homeless sleeping on trains was bad now it will become infinitely worse because the fare is the main thing that prevents them from entering a station. The homeless and vagrants milling about stations and trains is not a minor problem. It is, perhaps, the main reason that many people in the city are unwilling to use the train. In a perfect world it would be great if we could do this, but it opens a Pandora’s box of other problems. We should be spending our tax dollars to house the homeless inside buildings, not trains. I could see this working potentially for busses, because the driver has a better ability to make sure people aren’t using the bus as a crash pad.

    • No thank you. Contrary to those that want this, the system should eventually be able to sustain itself someday, explain how free fares would help there? Look if Metro wants to make things easier for those that got hit by COVID financially the most then by all means I’m all for it. But you can’t expect for there to be anyone to believe this is even realistic. If any we should be increasing fares or at the very least, or actually look at Distance Based fares, You guys literally keep mentioning about budget shortfalls and now you pull this stunt?

      I legitimately don’t understand what you guys are doing. It’s almost as if you want the system to fail. I’m completely against this I’m sorry. There is just no legit reason for this to be done.

      Hey Metro, you wanna know why your Fare Recovery Ratio is only 13%? It’s probably because YOU KEEP CHARGING $1.75 FLAT RATE WITH FREE 2 HOUR TRANSFERS!!!! Do you not already see the flaw there? Sure the 2 hour transfer is probably not taking much, but that $1.75 that allows me to take 3 trains from Azusa to Santa Monica within a 2 hour window is what’s also killing the system financially. By comparison a Metrolink ride between Covina and LAUS (Both Gold Line and Metrolink station are on Citrus Ave) cost $5.75 (actual cost $7.75) with Metrolink Farebox recovery ration being much higher than 13%, what a coincidence.

      Other parts of the world would charge me $7-$10 to travel the same distance between Santa Monica and Azusa, and though they may not gain a profit from my ride, there are a variety of factors that would, but Metro would just rather ignore.

      “Fare-free transit will help essential workers, moms and dads, students, seniors and riders with disabilities. I view this as something that could change the life trajectory of millions of people and families in L.A. County, the most populous county in America.”

      You know, I know this wasn’t intended, but I this statement is probably what makes me angry the most. My family got hit by COVID-19 as well, yet not a single one of us asked for a handout. Who honestly ask Metro for a handout here? I can still pay for my own fare here you know, and many others that can as well. Expect more disrespect to patrons if a decision to do this as now you’ll have actual entitled people on the system who will not care about their fellow patrons as well.

      Lastly I’ll end it with this: There’s a reason no one else in the world (Including New York) that has done this, and there is probably so many reason why they all decided not to do it, think about that.

    • I know, how they will, attempt, to make up the shortfall, MORE TAXES! Another proposition! METRO will come back to the people, with hat in hand, and claim that they need MORE MONEY! They will say without more money, they’ll have to reduce service. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of paying more Sales Tax. NO FREE FARES!!

      • Hi John610;

        To be very clear, we are not going to pursue any kind of new local sales tax or other ballot measure to fund fareless transit. The task force instead will look at the possibility of using state or federal grants, revenues from advertising and sponsorships and possibly revenues from our Traffic Reduction Study, which is exploring the use of tolls on some roads. As well as other possibilities. But not a new sales tax.

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

        • > exploring the use of tolls on some roads

          That’s still a tax, while you kick carpooler’s out of the taxpayer funded carpool lanes with transponders, monthly charges, etc.

        • Steve, just to be clear, METRO may not be pursuing more taxes, but going to a fareless system WILL. The thing you don’t seem to understand is that money has to come from somewhere and, at some point, there will be more taxes. You can’t operate at a defisit. Metro has to start taking fisical responsibility and get their financial house in order. The LAST THING we need is the homeless population using the METRO system as their “crash pad”.

          • Hi John610;

            FWIW, Metro does not operate at a deficit. We are required to balance our budget every year. We do carry debt in the form of bonds (mostly), but we balance the budget. I agree that everything does have to get paid for, but I also believe expenses and revenues can be re-prioritized. Nor does everything that local, state and government does result in new taxes — in fact, most often it results in funds getting moved around to pay for the expenses prioritized that year. It’s also worth mentioning that for some people federal taxes have gone down in recent years.

            Steve Hymon
            Editor, The Source

        • “exploring the use of tolls on some roads.”

          – That should be money to be used to fix and maintain those same roads and infrastructure. You know, those same bumpy and crumbling roads that buses have to drive over making rides unattractive. This shouldn’t be going for free fares at all.

          I have no problems regarding tolls on roads and pricing on driving, but if it’s at the expense of giving away free bus rides, then no thanks, give us our HOV Lanes back, thank you very much.

        • The more free Metro gets, the higher the chance you get laid off too. When the economy picks back up, all that earned revenue will disappear. It’s not smart to do that. But if you agree with it, don’t be surprised if you get laid off too. People riding free will be able to save enough money to buy a car, ultimately leading to the end of Metro. This will backfire. That’s like saying we should make everything free. How will this lead to more jobs? It won’t.

    • Indeed. I stopped riding buses and metro in March, just before the virus attack. And even free rides won’t be enough to lure me back unless they find a way to get rid of the vagrants. One of my last memorable sights at a metro station was seeing a vagrant couple doing the deed on the platform at 7;00 a.m!!!

  27. This fareless system is a worthwhile study, but it cannot take place in a vacuum. The issue of safety has to be considered alongside this study. If our customers do not feel safe, then free fares will not encourage them to ride, especially on nighttime service. This would also be in line with a bus redesign when the front doors are moved back behind the front wheels and the operator has a true compartment for their safety as well. These issues must be considered together if it is to be a successful change.

  28. A fareles system would be the WORST thing that METRO has EVER done! This type of a system would just encourage more stinky homeless people, possibly with some unknown illness, to come onboard the system and contaminate the buses, trains, and everything else. Instead of a fareles system, we need to encourage EVERYONE to pay their fares. The LAST thing we need is more homeless riding the METRO system. If they wish to ride, let them get some clean clothes, take a bath, and PAY YOUR FARE the same sa EVERYONE else.

    • That’s the (homeless) elephant in the room. But Metro gave up long ago on enforcing fares due to allegations of targeting so-called people of color (who make 90% of the riders).

  29. Good idea…if not feasible, reduce fate to affordable cost to riders.

  30. In July 2012 (or 13 or 14 or 15), on a very bad air day, BART went fareless, but teenagers harassed passengers very badly, according to the SF Chronicle. No further details were published.

  31. No fares means no seats for the legitimate travelers. It’s bad enough now with seats being taken up (sometimes many at one time by the same person) by freeloaders. People don’t feel safe with these freeloaders, not to mention the body odor most have.

      • That’s exactly what they want! They want to be only an administrative organization and turn everything over to various Munes. Take a look at some of their “Next Gen” bus change proposals. They, in some cases, want to get rid of whole lines and in, other cases, just parts of lines. Does that make sense?

  32. Another benefit of getting rid of fares or reducing payment to near zero would be just a pure simplification of the whole system. No more ATAP, BTAP, subsidy fares, the new LIFE program, child fares, senior fares, and the whole complicated mess of one-off programs Metro has to administer. Metro has no idea how complicated the ticket machine has gotten, and all the buttons bus operators must press to get TAP cards to read the correct fare correctly, whether it be passes, rides, transfers, paper tickets, or stored value. Even the bus boarding announcement explaining all the fares is a sign things are a mess.

    Even if they’re not able to get the fare to zero, the metro would be so much easier to navigate if $0.50 – $1 bought a 2-3hr window of riding for anyone. No exceptions, no programs, no special fares. Just one cheap fare for all. Many systems around the world are like this.