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LA Public Transportation Might Get a Little More Expensive

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The MTA announced last week that in order to cover a $100 million budget deficit, officials are considering raising bus and train fares. According to a Los Angeles Times article:

[MTA Chief Executive Roger] Snoble proposed increasing the standard $1.25 cash fare to $2, beginning Jan. 1, 2009. Day passes, which now cost $3, would increase to $5 in July and to $8 by 2009. Monthly passes, now $52, would cost $75 in July and $120 by January 2009.

A public hearing must be held before the MTA's 13-member board approves any rate hike. A date has not yet been set.

Passengers, on average, pay 58 cents per ride, an MTA calculation based on the larger number of riders who use monthly and other discounted passes. Snoble estimates that next year it will cost $2.50 per ride to operate the buses and trains.

In recent months, ridership has increased, gently boosting revenue, he said. The MTA also is preparing to cut $10 million in services as part of its semiannual service adjustment.

The Bus Riders Union, however, is unhappy with the rate hikes. According to the same
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Times article:
Instead of raising rates, the Bus Riders Union wants transit officials to lower fares to 50 cents to attract more riders. The group also wants $42 monthly passes.

Now while we totally agree that rate increases -- $120 monthly pass seems too high for us at first blush -- will hit low-income riders the hardest, but it's also a little ballsy to ask for lower rates. LAist did a quick cost comparison with other cities to see how our fares stood up. The results may surprise you.

New York

  1. A one-way cash fare is $2.
  2. A 1-day Fun pass, which allows riders unlimited subway and local bus rides costs $7.
  3. A 7-day Unlimited Ride MetroCard costs $24.
  4. A 30-day Unlimited Ride MetroCard costs $76.


  1. Full fare is $1.75.
  2. A 1-Day Pass costs $5.
  3. A Full Fare 7-Day Pass costs $20.
  4. A Full Fare 30-Day Pass costs $75.


  1. A regular one-way fare is $1.70 (Charlie card) or $2 cash.
  2. A day LinkPass costs $9.
  3. A 7-day LinkPass costs $15.
  4. A monthly LinkPass is $59.

San Francisco

  1. A regular one-way Muni fare is $1.50
  2. 1-day Muni Passport is $11.
  3. 3-day Passport $18.
  4. 7-day Passport is $24
  5. A monthly Adult Fast Pass is $45.

We know that LA's public transportation system has a long, long, long way to go before it even comes close to transportation services and routes available in those other cities, but officials and riders need to find some middle ground here. (Maybe income limited fares?) Unfortunately, while it majorly sucks that we can't go past Western on the Wilshire Red Line, you can't stave off rising rates forever -- look no further than your closest regular unleaded pump for proof.
Photo by Nuala29 via flickr.