Metro, L.A. City Look To Provide Free Transit, Bike-Share Rides on Election Day

Metro is expected to provide free rides on election day. Pictured is a 2016 Metro subway voting ad. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Metro is expected to provide free rides on election day. Pictured is a 2016 Metro subway voting ad. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Both Metro and the city Transportation Department (LADOT) are planning to offer free transit rides for the November 6 election, coming up just two weeks from today.

As reported at The Source, Metro boardmembers Eric Garcetti, Sheila Kuehl, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Robert Garcia put forward a motion calling for Metro to:

  • provide free transit on the election day this November
  • examine providing enhanced and/or reduced-fare rides via Access Services on election day
  • consult with the County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk to report back on permanently making transit free transit on federal and statewide election days

The Metro motion is expected to be approved at the full board meeting this Thursday.

There is a very similar initiative underway at the city of Los Angeles. City councilmembers Mike Bonin and Bob Blumenfield put forward a motion (council file 18-0991) calling for LADOT to:

  • provide free rides on all DASH, Commuter Express, and Cityride transit on election day this November
  • consult with the County and Metro on the feasibility of free transit on every federal and state election day

The city of L.A. motion is on the agenda for the city council’s Transportation Committee at its meeting tomorrow. If approved there, it would go to a vote of the full city council.

Both motions cite the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2016 Survey of the Performance of American Elections (SPAE) which found that approximately 30 percent of U.S. nonvoters “claimed that the lack of transportation to the polls was a factor for not voting. In California, that number rose to 51 percent.”

Additionally, SPAE and similar studies showed that lack of access to transportation to get to polls [disproportionately] affects minority, low-income, persons with disabilities, and youth voters. For example, over 50% of non-voters said that a disability or illness was a factor in deciding not to vote and turnout for persons with disabilities has been declining.

In addition, Metro Bike Share rides will be free on election day.

Per @BikeMetro’s announcement on Twitter, on November 6, bike-share riders can enter promotional code 1162018 for a free single ride.

  • Interesting. Also free to the voter: voting by mail.

  • calwatch

    With the signature verification issues many people are afraid their vote won’t be counted unless they show up in person. Also, effective 2020 when LA County moves to the vote center model (fewer polling places open longer) transit will be really needed. Right now most people have polling places within one mile in urban areas, which is reasonable for able bodied people to walk or bike, but the vote centers will extend that radius to several miles.

  • The ACLU sued CA over rejected mail-in ballots in the 2016 election due to signature mismatches. The court ruled that voters must be notified and given a chance to respond in that situation: https://amp.vcstar.com/amp/402262002

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