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Times Calls for Metro Service Cuts

2:55 PM PST on December 5, 2008

Last Year, Bus Rider's Fought for Late Night Service

An editorial in today's Los Angeles Times calls for Metro to cut bus lines with low ridership so it can avoid raising fares or spending too much of it's Measure R windfall on operations:

The MTA is projecting a $134-million deficit for the fiscal year thatstarts in July. Though Measure R will bring in additional money foroperations, it won't take care of the agency's fundamental structuraldeficit, which exists mainly because transit fares are so low that theycover only 28% of operating expenses. There's a way to fix the deficitwithout raising fares, but it requires the MTA board to cutinefficiencies -- such as bus lines that are used by only a handful ofriders. So far, it has lacked the political courage to do so. Unlessthat changes, voters will see less bang for their sales-tax buck.

Despite the Times' editorial, it seems unlikely that the Metro Board is going to work on service cuts anytime soon.  Last year, after a public process that took the entire winter and a lot of the Spring, Mayor Villaraigosa led a group of Board Members to reject the cuts submitted by the staff.  During the hearings on the cuts, bus riders poured their hearts out begging for their favorite local lines that were heading to the chopping block. 

Instead of aiming their slings at a Metro Board who acted to defend the rights of late night bus riders; perhaps the Times could aim it's arrows at state legislators who look at state transit taxes as just another pot to help them balance their budgets.

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