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Metro Proposes Big Fare Hikes

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Photo by Mark Luethi via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Staring down a $36 million budget gap in 2016, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is proposing fare hikes to cover the difference — a plan that would squeeze Southern California's legions of poor commuters.

One plan the agency released Friday would gradually raise fares from $1.50 to $2.25 a ride between now and 2021. Another option would institute rush hour price hikes that would reach as high as $3.25. There would also be big hikes for weekly passes under both plans — from $20 to $32 on the first, and to a whopping $45 on the second.

The organization warns that, without a change, it will be $225 million in debt by 2024.

Of course, price increases on Metro affect L.A. County's least affluent people — Southern California has seen a huge poverty increase in recent years — and advocates were quick to point out who loses when fares go up.

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“The majority of MTA riders are poor and transit dependent," Barbara Lott-Holland, of the Transit Riders Union advocacy group, told the L.A. Times. "You’re asking the poorest of the poor to pay more."

Maybe Metro CEO Art Leahy — salary: $325,000 a year — should hop on the packed 720 bus at rush hour and take a survey of how many riders packed shoulder-to-shoulder on the way to their second job can pay an extra $25 a week. Hey, maybe they can even give him some ideas of ways to cut costs!