Metro Memo Quietly Responds to Board and Public Fare Increase Concerns

Dana Gabbard testifying before the Metro Board fare restructuring hearing in March 2014. Photo: Metro's The Source

Dana Gabbard testifying before the Metro Board fare restructuring hearing in March 2014. Photo: Steve Hymon via Metro’s The Source

On March 29th, Metro held a public hearing on its proposal to restructure fares. At that meeting, I presented the position of Southern California Transit Advocates.

Among other stakeholders at the March 29th hearing was the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Transportation Committee, represented by its co-chair Darrell Clarke. He pointedly asked why Metro would raise fares while continuing to have mostly free parking at its rail stations and park and ride lots, a question that this blog has also raised.

Toward the conclusion of the hearing, several Metro board members posed questions of their own. Metro CEO Art Leahy responded, and promised to have agency staff research and provide written responses in “a week to 10 days”  (Meeting Audio File at 4:15:50).

I recently submitted a request to Metro’s Records Management Department to obtain a copy of the response which I thought likely had been distributed directly to the board members as a “board box” communication. I soon discovered it was only this past Friday, May 9th, that the memo titled Response to Inquiries From March 29 2014 Public Hearing (Fare Restructuring) was belatedly ready for distribution. 

Metro’s  response memo addresses not only the queries of its board members, but also issues and questions raised repeatedly by the public in their comments.

Many members of the Metro board have raised various concerns regarding agency revenue. Among these are:

From these concerns, it’s clear to me that many on the Metro Board hope that some source of additional revenue can be found to allow at least a partial reduction in the size of the fare increase. I think it is possible, but it looks like it will be a complicated, and likely contentious, process to navigate.

All in all, I am sure the Board meeting on Thursday, May 22nd, at which the fare changes will be discussed will be a very long one.