Doubling Efforts on Metro’s Fare Studies?

It is interesting that Steve Hymon reports that Metro Board member Diane Dubois asked for a staff report on fare restructuring at the last Metro Board meeting. My curiosity is piqued mostly because such a study is already underway. I know this from viewing the staff presentation on it made at the March 27, 2013 Metro Citizens’ Advisory Council meeting.

Metro Board members have been briefed about the study so DuBois should know about the duplication of effort her motion entails. But evidently no mention of the in-progress study was made at the Board meeting. While the response to her motion will be made this month the fare study won’t be ready until mid-Summer.

Note the emphasis on base fare (which admittedly are quite low compared to peers) versus passes (Metro’s passes are about in the mid range) in the staff presentation. Also it continues a longtime staff drumbeat regarding farebox recovery (transit industry jargon for the percentage of operations costs that are covered by fare revenues). A longtime

Metro observer has told me he perceives an imbalance in the fare structure that should be addressed by raising the base fare to $2 and lowering the monthly pass to $60. Since the longtime fixation of the Metro Board (on both equity grounds and political expediency) is to keep the base fare low that scenario has about zero chances of happening anytime soon.

My thanks to Nalini Ahujo, Executive Director, Office of Management and Budget at Metro for sharing the February presentation that I then arranged to have posted online via Scribd.

  • Nate

    Question: why does LA Metro require a person to predict their travel needs
    BEFORE buying a pass? For example, I commute to downtown three times a week by taking
    two rail lines, which means for every round trip I make four trips. I should by the
    $5 all-day pass, right? Except the some days I decide to skip the second
    rail trip either going or returning and walk that part. Or I leave early for unplanned reason,
    then I might want to take a bus somewhere. I never know exactly what I
    will want to do, so I don’t know if I will make fewer or more than four
    trips- some days I make two, some days – like one day last week- I make
    eight.

    Why doesn’t LA Metro automatically cap daily fare at
    $5? The same thing should happen on weekly and monthly passes- once you
    hit the value price point, it should kick in automatically. For one, people don’t like feeling ripped off when we pay for more trips than we use or
    pay more because we didn’t buy the the value pass, but also: adding a layer of complexity in which people have to stop and predict
    their behavior, and then potentially making people pay more for
    spontaneous travel…all of these things work against making the public
    transit experience enjoyable.

    This isn’t just a rant- I’d like to know the thinking behind this, and whether they have the technology to fix it- or is the system relying on this money?

  • Nate

    Apologies for the random line lengths. Not sure how that happened.

  • We were promised capping but the TAPucrats who designed TAP (over 10 years spending millions of dollars) fell far short of making good on the promises. And that inadequate design hamstrings the current effort to fix TAP.

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