Judge Rules Against BRU and NRDC. Fare Hikes Don’t Require EIS.

8_26_08_signs.jpgThe Bottleneck Blog reports that yesterday a Superior Court Judge ruled that Metro did not violate any laws when they raised fares last July without first completing an environmental review.  The thrust of the case was that because fare increases cause fewer people to ride transit, the increases will result in greater air pollution as more people turn to the automobile.

California law has a clear exemption from environmental reviews provided that the agency can show that the increased funds are going to operating costs.  However, the NRDC argued that you could see the clear effects of the increase on passengers.  Even while Metro rail experiences record ridership numbers, bus ridership has decreased 5%.

David Petit explains the basics in NRDC’s press release:

“Today’s ruling means more people will be forced to take potentially
more polluting forms of transportation to work, school or church. MTA
should make it easier, not harder, for riders to use public
transportation. When people switch from buses to cars due to higher bus
fares, the result will be dirtier air. There’s no question that the
cost of a bus ride impacts the environment."

There is no word from either the NRDC or the Bus Rider’s Union on whether or not there will be an appeal.

Photo: Damien Newton

  • anonymouse

    At some point, it just becomes about political micromanagement of how the agency runs its system, and that tends to lead to disaster. The solution is to pass legislation that sets up mandatory cost-of-living increases in fares. Portland has this policy, and it serves them well, depoliticizing the issue of regular fare increases.

  • I don’t disagree with #1; fare increases are a necessary thing in life. I disagree with their transfer policy, but overall the fare increases are reasonable, and fares are still cheaper than most big city transit systems. The concept that a fare increase requires an EIR is such a ludicrous concept that I was wondering if the BRU and NRDC were going to be sanctioned by the court. EIRs are powerful, but their purpose was meant for physical changes to the landscape.