Ride Metro FOR FREE on California Clean Air Day on Wednesday, Oct. 5!

California Clean Air Day is Wednesday, Oct. 5, and Metro is offering free rides on our bus, rail and bike share systems! Use the Transit app or the trip planner on metro.net to plan your trip.

Please spread the word. Smog has been a wicked public health issue in our region for a century — and a big driver of that (pun intended) has been the high volume of people driving alone in gas-powered cars.

Many transit agencies around the state are offering free rides today. Why?

Buses and trains help cut down on pollution because they produce less emissions per person riding. And the more people that take transit, the cleaner it gets.

Metro buses and trains have made great strides in both areas. All buses on our G (Orange) Line in the San Fernando Valley are now electric with zero emissions. We’re presently working to convert the J (Silver) Line to electric buses next and, although it’s an ambitious goal, the entire Metro bus system by 2030, a decade ahead of the state deadline. Our trains run on electricity — and the source of electricity in our region increasingly consists of renewable sources.

When it comes to smog in our region, the stats don’t lie. Although we’ve made a lot of progress reducing air pollution in Southern California, the status quo isn’t exactly awesome. Check out the numbers below. For a region as beautiful as ours, clear skies are often in short supply — and unhealthy skies remain too common.

The pic at the top of this post shows the ideal. Here’s what unhealthy looks like — it’s a pic I took in 2018 from Debs Park, northeast of downtown L.A. during one of the big wildfires. Gross, eh?

Which leads to a related subject: cutting down on smog also means emitting fewer greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Generally speaking, there is a consensus that climate change coupled with other factors is resulting in more frequent and severe fires across the world, California included.

Which brings us to the chart below from 2009 by the Federal Transit Administration. While things have changed since ’09 — there are more electric vehicles on the road now and many cars have improved fuel efficiency. But the gist of this still holds up:


Much of Metro’s work involves trying to give more people more and better options to get around. That’s why we’re expanding our system and why we have many programs to promote riding — such as discounted passes, LIFE fares and our GoPass that provides free transit for K-12 and community college students in LA County at participating schools and districts.

For those who want to take a deeper dive on air pollution, climate change and other environmental-related info, our Moving Beyond Sustainability plan lays out our strategy for the next decade. The plan calls for:

•Nearly tripling Metro’s on-site renewable energy generation by 2030.

•Reducing the agency’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 79 percent from the 2017 baseline.

•Reducing nitrogen oxide emissions — a main smog ingredient — by 54 percent from the 2018 baseline.

Again, please help us spread the news that rides on Metro are free on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Even better, rides will also be free on the entire Metro Bus, Rail and Bike system from noon, Friday, Oct. 7 through the end of service on Sunday, Oct. 9, to celebrate the opening of the K Line and help people reach a myriad of events that weekend, including CicLAvia, the Cowboys-Rams game and the Nashville vs LAFC game in Exposition Park, among others.

7 replies

  1. Don’t forget about the SDMTS (San Diego Metropolitan Transportation System) and NCTD (North County Transit District) offers a free ride on Wed Oct 5th, 2022 as well so that’s all I remember.

  2. I will have a 30 day pass. Will I get a pro-rated discount on my pass and a 4 day extension for Clean Air day, and the opening weekend of the K Line? If the answer is “no”, please ask the person who came up with the free rides to resign.

  3. This is just going to create tough time for the operators, and confusion for passengers.

    This upcoming “10/5 free & 10/6 not-free then 10/7 at noon free” thing will only cause unnecessary confusion and will not do much to the air. And how do you even enforce the “noon” on 10/7? Will the bus operators magically cover the farebox with their reflective vests and the rail stations turnstiles magically be unlatched at that moment?

    Do you really think people who drive every day, will even bother to take Metro so that they can show up at work / appointment late, and to experience dodging around the trash & sticky floors & urine & feces on the train cars and platforms?

    • No… this is just Metro incompetence so that the Metro board can make them look good despite failing riders with dangerous drug users on Metro.

      Plus, a 5 year delay on the full K Line (could even be 5 more years).

  4. Why is this news? Metro is always free, even if “unofficially.” Does anyone seriously still pay for this?