LOS ANGELES — Changes are expected to the fare structure for the Metro system in the coming years.
Two proposals were unveiled on Metro’s news site, which seeks to introduce fare changes for Metro riders to cover a looming 2016 budget deficit of $36.8 million for the transit system, which would escalate to $225 million by 2023, according to the restructuring proposal.
The most notable change is that of the standard bus fare, which will go, under the first proposal, from $1.50 per single ride to $1.75 in the 2015 fiscal year to $3.25 in the 2020 fiscal year under three separate phases. Following the same timetable, the day pass will jump from $5 to $9, weekly passes will go from $20 to $30 and EZ passes will rise from $85 to $135. The monthly pass will see an increase from $95 to $100 for the 2015 fiscal year, but Metro hopes to consolidate the monthly pass into the EZ transit pass starting in the 2018 fiscal year.
The second proposal sees some similar changes, but at higher expenses. Day passes go from $5 to $13, and weekly passes go from $20 to $45. Under this plan, the monthly passes are expected to go the same way as it does under the first proposal. The main difference between both is the inclusion of an off-peak pass, which hopes to be rolled out in the 2015 fiscal year for $1.50 before going up to $2 in the 2020 fiscal year. The off-peak hours are to be determined as 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 5 a.m. every weekday, in addition to the full length of day on weekends and federal holidays.
Another common element would be the introduction of a 90-minute unlimited transfer plan. Riders would be able to transfer to any bus or train with no limitations provided they do so under the 90 minutes from purchasing that fare. This feature would only be available to TAP card holders, however, because “the TAP cards will be the technology used to track how long people are riding the system,” according to Metro.
This is being done, according to Metro, to retrieve more from fares to cover the cost of operations, a “fare recovery rate” that currently sits at 26 percent. That number would increase to 34.14 percent in the 2020 fiscal year under the first proposal and to 34.33 percent in the same timetable under the second proposal. The proposal report notes that “fares will be adjusted every two years based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) beginning in [fiscal year 2023] in order to keep fares in line with inflation rates,” should the plan proceed.
A call for a public hearing to discuss these changes will be held at the Metro’s Board of Directors meeting on January 23 at 9:00 a.m. at Metro headquarters. Should this go forward, the public meeting will be held on March 29 at 9:00 a.m., which will proceed to a board vote to initiate the plan on May 22. If the plan is initiated, the fare changes will go into effect on September 1, 2014.