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Transportation and Mobility

Free Public Transit? LA Metro Unveils Its Plan To Make That A Reality For Many Bus And Train Riders

Riders board a Metro Red Line train in July 2019. (James Bernal for LAist)
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During this week’s Los Angeles Metro board meeting, CEO Phillip Washington presented a proposal for a pilot program that would allow a majority of the public transit agency’s riders to take the system free of charge.

The two-phase pilot would offer free trips for low-income bus and rail riders starting January 2022. In August 2022, fareless travel would extend to all K-12 students in L.A. County.

Metro reported that 70% of its riders make less than $35,000 a year and would qualify for free trips under the current pilot proposal.

The pilot would run to June 2023, then Metro’s leaders could decide to continue or expand free transit to more riders and services.

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The plan is still a work in progress, and Metro board members expressed concerns about the agency’s process of determining which riders qualify for the program, especially given many local residents' legal or housing statuses.


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