We launched our Fareless System Initiative in Aug. 2020. The program’s goals are simple: to use fareless transit as a tool to help L.A. County residents deal with the ever-rising cost of living here and help recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That’s important because about 70 percent of our riders are considered low-income.
On Thursday, the Metro Board of Directors approved going forward with the first phase of Metro’s fareless plan. Phase 1 offers fareless transit to K-12 and community college students in schools or districts that partner with Metro. There is certainly strong interest. In August, Metro tested fareless transit with six schools and districts, distributing more than 5600 test TAP cards to students. We’re currently working with 30-plus other schools and districts to finalize contracts to offer fareless transit to their students. Under the program, Metro and the region’s other transit agencies cover the majority of the cost of the two-year pilot program. K-12 districts pay $3 per student annually, and Community Colleges pay $7 per student annually. We continue to work to secure funding for Phase 2 of our fareless pilot to cover low-income riders.
And we have more good news: the Board also approved a motion that will significantly expand heavily discounted fares through our Low Income Fare Is Easy (LIFE) program. The motion eliminates the cumbersome paperwork needed to get LIFE fares AND provides three months of fareless transit to new LIFE enrollees. Metro Customer Centers are now accepting applications for LIFE discounts at all five locations, making the discount program more accessible throughout L.A. County. Please see this Source post for more info on Customer Center locations and hours.
Additionally, to make using the system more affordable, Metro is offering a variety of discounts on Metro passes, including some promotional rate discounts when fare collection resumes on buses on Jan. 10, 2022. We will offer 50 percent discounts to all riders on daily, weekly and regular 30-day passes for six months. Under the promotional pricing, a daily pass would be $3.50, a 7-day pass $12.50, and a 30-day pass $50. After applying the LIFE discount, these prices would be even lower, making the LIFE weekly pass $6.50 and the LIFE 30-day pass only $26.
We know that many of you have begun riding again in recent weeks and we welcome you back to the Metro system! And as the pandemic eases, we hope to see more returning customers and new riders. We’re working hard to ensure the system is better than ever. Our bus service is back to pre-pandemic levels with much more frequent service on our busiest routes and we’ve launched a “Keep Metro Clean and Safe” campaign to keep our buses and trains safe for everyone. We’re also continuing to require that all riders wear face masks to lower risks from COVID-19. Please keep your eyes on the Source in the coming weeks and months for more details on our fareless program and discounted fares.