“Officials with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority have warned that the agency will face a $36-million operating budget shortfall in 2016, which could grow to $225 million in the next decade unless fares go up substantially,” reports Laura Nelson for the Los Angeles Times.
“Without higher fares, Metro will need to consider laying off nearly 1,000 employees and cutting 1 million hours of bus and rail service in 2015, agency staff members said.”
Metro claims that it needs to increase the share of its operating costs covered by fares. Metro’s ticket sales pay about one-quarter of system expenses, which ranks the lowest of any major U.S. transit agency.
In May, the Metro board will consider a number of schemes to raise fares. “One would raise the basic $1.50 bus and rail fare to $1.75 in September, to $2 in four years and $2.25 in 2021. Fares for seniors and the disabled would double to $1.10. A $75 monthly pass would increase to $100,” according to Nelson.
A public hearing held over the weekend attracted “more than 500 activists, students and low-wage workers” to make the case that the proposed fare increases would impact the people in the city that can least afford to bear new costs. For more insight on the mood at the hearing, check out Nelson’s live tweet of the March 29 meeting.