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Last Friday, Metrolink announced plans to raise fares and cut service effective on July 1. Wait a second, you might be thinking, Metrolink announced these hikes over a year ago. True, but these fare hikes are in addition to the ones passed in 2007. From Metrolink's press release:

Because of the escalating cost of diesel fuel, scheduled increases in costs for operating services contracts and new start-up costs related to the arrival of additional passenger cars in 2009, the Board is considering a fare increase of up to 7.5%, instead of the previously approved 3.5% and potential reductions in service to take effect on July 1, 2008.

The Metrolink Board is also considering changes to the Group Travel Program. The proposed changes to the program are as follows:

Increase the discounted Group Travel fare for a round trip ticket from $7.00 to $10.00 beginning July 1, 2008

Increase the minimum number in a group to qualify for the discounted fare from 10 to 15 beginning July 1, 2008

Index future increases in the Group Travel fare to system-wide fare change proposals but only increase the fare when the cumulative total of increases is equal to or greater than $1.00.

Much like Foothill Transit during its recent fare increases and Metro during its public process for service cuts; Metrolink is avoiding laying blame at the feet of the governor and other elected leaders in Sacramento who consistently under fund transit operations and sometimes rob dedicated transportation funding to balance the general fund.

Unfortunately, our local media is doing nothing to help pick up the slack. Metrolink used the oldest media suppression trick in the book, releasing major news on Friday afternoon, and so far it's paid off. No stories on the fare increase appeared in the Daily News, LA Times, or Orange County Register. The only story I found was a reprint of the press release in California Newswire.

You can comment about these proposals in several ways:

Attend the public hearing

E-mail : MetrolinkFares@scrra.net

Fax: (213) 452-0421

Mail :Metrolink Fares, 700 S. Flower Street, 26th Floor, Los Angeles, California 90017

The Metrolink Board of Directors will receive a compilation of all comments received and a public hearing will be held by the Board at its meeting on Friday, April 25, 2008 at 10:00 A.M. to be held at the Southern California Associated Governments (SCAG) San Bernardino Conference Room located at 818 W. 7th Street, 12th Floor, Los Angeles, California.

Comments can also be submitted by using our online comment form by clicking HERE.

Photo: Casualclicks/Flickr

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