The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) could begin a fareless transit pilot program this August for K-12 students.
On Thursday, L.A. Metro staff told the agency’s board of director’s executive management committee about the proposal to begin the pilot for students one year earlier than the original plan for August 2022.
The new proposal is predicated on three key points:
- L.A. Metro will return to pre-pandemic levels of bus service by September so there will be capacity for students to ride.
- It’s best to do something for those in need as soon as possible and fareless could save families money and time. A monthly pass for K-12 students costs $24.
- L.A. Metro is working on a plan to fund a pilot program beginning in August although the agency would need to figure out a long-term funding strategy if fareless was to become permanent. As part of this, the agency will also be reaching out to potential funding partners — including school districts and community college districts.
Under the current proposal, a pilot fareless program would also be available for low-income riders, beginning in Jan. 2022. The pilots for both students and low-income riders would conclude June 30, 2023. L.A. Metro staff is also studying whether community college students could be included in a fareless program in the future.
A vote by the agency's board on launching a pilot program is scheduled for the group's May round of meetings. More key details on the Fareless System Initiative — including more on costs, potential funding sources, and the possibility of including other L.A. County bus agencies — will come next month. L.A. Metro staff will also soon release a comprehensive report on going fareless.