A fareless transit pilot program for K-12 students in Los Angeles County could begin as soon as this August, Metro staff told the Metro Board of Director’s Executive Management Committee on Thursday.
The proposal to begin the fareless pilot for students one year earlier than originally proposed is predicated on three important points:
•Metro will return to pre-pandemic levels of bus service by September so there will be capacity for students to ride.
•It’s best to do something for those in need as soon as possible and fareless could save families money and time. A Metro monthly pass for K-12 students costs $24.
•Metro is working on a plan to fund a pilot program beginning in August although the agency would need to figure out a long-term funding strategy if fareless was to become permanent. As part of this, the agency will also be reaching out to potential funding partners — including school districts and community college districts.
Under the current proposal, a pilot fareless program for low-income riders would begin in Jan. 2022. The pilots for both students and low-income riders would conclude June 30, 2023. Staff are also studying whether Community College students could be included in a fareless program in the future.
Important to know: a vote by the Metro Board on launching a pilot program is scheduled for the Board’s May round of meetings. The discussion today was only an update — no decisions were made. You can read the latest staff report on fareless here. Here is a presentation shown at committee today.
More key details on the Fareless System Initiative — including more on costs, potential funding sources and the possibility of including other L.A. County bus agencies — will come next month. Metro staff will also soon release a comprehensive report on going fareless.
Metro CEO Phil Washington announced the launch of the agency’s Fareless System Initiative last August. Phil has said that he believes Metro has a moral obligation to help L.A. County residents recover from the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic — which impacted low-income residents the most in terms of illness, death and loss of income.