Why we’re offering free rides (and more!) this Transit Equity Day

This Sunday, February 4, we’re offering free rides on our bus, rail and bike system in honor of Transit Equity Day and the birthday of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who in 1955 famously refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus for a white passenger. 

Parks’ act of courage was felt throughout the country, leading to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that segregation on transit was unconstitutional.  

While we’re offering free rides on this special day –– other agencies are offering free fares too –– providing affordable and sustainable transportation is a responsibility we take very seriously, 365 days a year. Here are some of the projects and programs which serve that core mission:   

Fare discounts and other programs 

  • Our LIFE program provides heavily discounted fares for those who depend on us the most to get around. To date, over 300,000 have enrolled, and we’ll be holding upcoming signups; check our calendar here. To learn more, see if you qualify for LIFE and to apply online, please visit https://www.metro.net/riding/life/ 
  • Our GoPass pilot program offers free rides to K-12 and community college students in L.A. County at participating schools and districts. We want to help students (and their families!) save money traveling to school, work, cultural destinations and to take advantage of our growing transit network. To learn more and check if your school is enrolled in GoPass please click here. 
  • Last year, we launched a new fare policy known as fare capping. As long as you use a TAP card, you’ll never pay more than $5 per day or $18 over 7 days to ride no matter how many trips you take. The more you ride, the more you save.   
  • We have reduced fares for older adults of .35/.75 cents, and with fare capping, you’ll never pay more than $2.50 per day. Our On the Move Riders Program (OTMRP) works to empower older adults with the information and confidence to travel on fixed route transportation. Learn more here 
  • Last year, we teamed up with LADOT to launch a pilot program, the Mobility Wallet (MW), a prepaid debit card loaded with $150 per month for users to pay for public and private transportation. That means everything from buses, trains, and bike shares to scooters, Ubers and Lyfts. Learn more here.  

Maximizing accessibility  

  • We were one of the first large transit entities to provide 100 percent accessible busses, automated route and stop announcements. We’ve also provided additional space for wheelchairs and other mobility devices on rail vehicles as well as spaces for bikes, strollers, and other personal transport modes. Read a first-person account here.   
  • We have hands free access to all our fare gates and intercoms. And we’re testing alternatives for hands free access at station crossings and elevators. 
  • We’re exploring wayfinding pilot programs at several Metro stations that would leverage technology to help people with vision impairments and other types of disabilities.  
  • We launched a micro transit service, Metro Micro, to help close the critical first / last mile gap for those who rely on transit the most. To date, it’s provided nearly 1.7 million rides!  
  • We have done a lot of research on where transportation needs are greatest by studying concentrations of resident and household demographics associated with mobility barriers. Using that information, we’ve created a map of Equity Focus Communities, or EFCs. This information allows us to prioritize resources and services to those who need them the most.   

Climate justice programs  

  • We are training our workforce and our communities on skills needed to thrive in a green economy. We were recently awarded $6M in federal funding to develop a series of training programs for our transition to zero emissions buses. We have also been training our workforce in maintenance procedures and best practices to maintain our renewable energy resources. Our overarching training program, the Growing Greener Workforce (GGW) Program, allows both Metro employees and communities throughout Los Angeles to achieve professional credentials like the Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) and Green Professional (GRPO) certifications.   
  • We’re leveraging technology and materials innovations that reduce the carbon footprint of our operations and contribute to cleaner air throughout the region. That can mean investing in zero emission electric buses, which has resulted in a 50% reduction in the pollutants from our bus fleet in 2021. It can also mean using renewable natural gas derived from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and farms. Since 2022, we’ve had a tree policy –– for every tree a construction project removes, we plant two more California-native or drought-tolerant varieties. There are greenhouse gas emissions associated with every step of the procurement, design, construction and maintenance of our infrastructure, so we work very hard to learn from past projects.  
  • We incorporate the principles of sustainable and resilient infrastructure in the planning, design, and construction of projects and ensure that they remain in a state of good repair. For example, we’ve updated our design criteria to be consistent with the CA Green Building Code (CalGreen), and we require all projects 10,000 square feet or larger to achieve a LEED Silver certification. Every project we build requires a sustainability plan to outline and address potential environmental, social, and fiscal impacts. As a result, we have over a dozen green- certified infrastructures, either located in or running through many of our Equity Focus Communities (EFCs), and we’re developing an online tool to showcase how they benefit these communities. We’re also working with our agency partners to incorporate these strategies in their projects, including those at bus stops.  
  • In January, we kicked off the “Climate is King” Environmental Justice Campaign with KBLA Radio. It’s part of our effort to meet our triple bottom line at Metro: to be good for people, good for the planet, and good for the progress of equity in our community. Our goals are to center the voices of communities of color in the climate conversation, to connect at-risk fellow citizens with advocacy organizations, to increase climate health literacy, and to highlight frontline climate justice crusaders of color. 

So, are you ready to ride? Our system can connect you to a ton of destinations worthy of a Sunday visit — including Exposition Park, downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, the beach in Santa Monica, Old Pasadena and downtown Long Beach, to name a few. We’re also partnering with SoCal Museums to connect you with diverse and inspiring exhibitions across Los Angeles County. Check out a complete list of participating museums here. Your TAP card is your ticket to all kinds of perks and discounts. 

What are you doing on Transit Equity Day? Let us know in the comments.  

Categories: Transportation News

4 replies

  1. Should really be honoring Claudette Colvin. 6 months before Rosa Parks.refused to give up her seat Claudette Colvin refused to give up hers. But was pregnant, unwed and 15. She didn’t make a good face for the cause. History remembers Rosa Parks but Claudette is a name no one knows. So thank Claudette for your free ride.

  2. “So, are you ready to ride?”

    Nope because here is the thing:

    Don’t get me wrong, this is probably unique to the U.S. and it is a nice gesture. But literally any inclement weather essentially slows down or even delays the system because if the cheapo route Metro won’t stop taking to build the rail infrastructure, and considering Sunday’s forecast, I went from wanting to take advantage of taking a free Metrolink day trip to just being a hermit instead and spare the potential headache of dealing with Metro on a day off.

  3. How about if Metro stops widening freeways through communities of color for this kind of Equity Day? (Also sad to see Metro touting MicroTransit as good for equity equity – Metro is subsidizing $40+/ride for whiter more suburban Metro Micro riders at the expense of Metro’s own bus riders.)

    • Tell that to the people complaining about the price increase. The people of LA county are just as guilty regarding the Metro Rider problem as the agency is themselves.

      “suburban Metro Micro riders” – Last I checked, Inglewood, Compton and Watts were NOT suburban neighborhoods. But my point still stands, increase the pricing of Metro Micro.