Los Angeles Metro Schedules Public Hearing in May to Consider Fare Changes

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This will be LA Metro's first major fare restructuring since 1995

A public hearing on the first major restructuring of Los Angeles Metro fares in 12 years will be held on Thursday, May 24, at 9 a.m. at LA Metro headquarters, Cesar Chavez and Vignes, in downtown Los Angeles.

The Metro Board of Directors will hear public testimony at the hearing and will consider adopting new changes in Metro fares. If adopted, the new fares will be phased in July 1, 2007 with a possible second adjustment on January 1, 2009.

Interested members of the public may comment in person at the public hearing, or in writing at any time prior to the end of meeting. Correspondence may be mailed to: Board Secretary, Attention: Fare Adjustments, One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles CA 90012-2952, or sent via email to fares@metro.net or faxed to (213) 922-4594.

Metro CEO Roger Snoble is proposing to keep the LA Metro regular cash fare at $1.25 until 2009. That's the lowest of any major metropolitan area in the nation. New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego and other cities currently charge $2 or more. However, Metro staff is proposing to change the regular base fare to $2 in January 2009 and substantial changes are proposed this summer and in 2009 for Metro passes, tokens and discount fares.
See attached chart

Discount fares for seniors, students and the disabled have not been changed since 1995. In 2004, Metro cut the regular cash fare a dime to $1.25, eliminated transfers, instituted the popular $3 Day Pass and changed the monthly pass by $10 to $52, among other adjustments.

Over the past decade, under the federal Consent Decree, Metro purchased more than 2,000 new buses and, under court order, greatly expanded bus service it couldn't afford to operate.

"Metro is struggling to overcome an operating deficit projected at $1.8 billion over 10 years," explained CEO Snoble. "Our costs for new buses, fuel, labor and other expenses have gone up exponentially over the years while fees to our customers have not changed."

Snoble noted that in 1988 LA Metro fares covered 44 percent of the cost of operating buses in Los Angeles. Today, the farebox recovery ratio is just under 25 percent and the national average for large transit properties is 38 percent.

The average Metro rider is only paying 58 cents a boarding due to deep discounts to seniors/disabled, students and pass users. Although the changes appear large in percentage terms, they represent pennies in terms of daily use. If the changes are approved, the average rider fare will change from 58 cents to 86 cents per ride.

"We can't sustain these massive subsidies," Snoble said. "Either we raise fares or cut service. We simply can not operate the existing service let alone offer the public new transit improvements."

"It is indeed unfortunate that at a time of such high transit demand due to continued population and job growth and the rising cost of all modes of transportation that Metro will not be in a position to serve the demand without additional revenue," said Snoble.

Snoble noted that LA Metro continues cutting overhead. More than 500 administrative and management positions have been eliminated in the past five years and Metro continues to look for other areas of additional revenue, such as increasing advertising opportunities on the Metro system.

After hearing public comment on the proposed fare modifications, the Board may consider, and at its discretion adopt various fare modifications. The Board is not bound by or limited to the specific proposals or amounts described in this notice. Attached are the proposed fare modifications to be considered in the upcoming public hearing.


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