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Metro Prices Go Up, A Photo Essay

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Thursday's Metro Board meeting to hear public comment and vote on new fares for public transportation in Los Angeles was, simply put, an amazing scene. An estimated 1500 people showed up with approximately 1498 of them opposing the insanely high raised fares (try 500% for some passes). During public comment, speakers spoke with passion, anger, tears and fury.

One of the day's best quotes came from a woman who held her baby in her arms talking of the hardships a raise of fares will cost her and her family, most likely forcing her to move out of state. She ended her statement with "I can budget for my family. Why can't you?" As with just about every speaker that day, it drew cheers from the crowd.

Laughter helped in the tense environment when a man spoke and Board president Gloria Molina asked him if he had already spoken earlier that day. He said yes and a girl from the audience shouted "too late now!" The room broke out in laughter, Molina included.

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The day ended with a vote for fare increases, albeit a more modest proposal than the harsh and extremely pricey one brought foward by Roger Snoble and Metro staff. Metro's website summarizes the new rates.

Walking the halls, we found that the meeting brought together a lot of the who's who in the public transit advocacy world of Los Angeles. And that is what follows after the jump...

Above photo by Stephen Box

Andy Lipkis, President and Founder of TreePeople (who we recently visited) was one of the first to speak out of the 300 or so public comments.

We met Lisa Adler last summer where she told us about the Bus Riders Union. We didn't get a chance to speak to her because she was busy all day running around the meeting organizing union members.

Meet Damien Goodmon, the genius behind the Los Angeles County Rail Network at Get LA Moving. He spoke after a presentation by the Bus Riders Union and opened with, "I am a bus rider and the Bus Riders Union does NOT speak for me. And as an African-American man who has been the victim of real racism, let me say how I abhor the race baiting tactics utilized by some organizations on this fare increase issue... This is not a discussion about race. It is a discussion about the cost of labor and commodities and the ability of this agency to deliver a public service."

News reporters stayed throughout the day, collecting quotes from various speakers. Unfortunately, most captured quotes did not make the papers due to the high volume of public comment speakers. Yet, this would have proved to be a more interesting angle than any traditional news media story. However, LA Times' Bottleneck Blog did a lot of live blogging. The above photo is of Daily News' Sue Doyle with Father Delaney.

If you want to know about bicycle advocacy in Los Angeles, this couple is in the thick of it. Meet Enci and Stephen Box who led the Bike to Work rally that we showed you last week. They are also the people behind

Bart Reed of The Transit Coalition, Enci (shown above) and Hank Fung of the Southern California Transit Advocates. Reed's weekly e-mail newsletter was featured as one of our eNewsletters that Rock back in August.

So many people attended the meeting, the building was shut down to new entrees. Many saw the hypocrisy of a public meeting where much of the public was locked out.

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