If you depend on the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to commute to school or work, your pockets may see a little less change with the MTA’s recent fare increase proposal.
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If you depend on the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to commute to school or work, your pockets may see a little less coins with the MTA’s recent fare increase proposal.

On Saturday, hundreds of students, workers and activists packed into Metro’s downtown boardroom to voice their dismay with the latest fare increase proposals.

There are currently two plans before the board and both involve raising the basic cost of bus and rail trips. On the surface, it appears that Metro no longer cares about its millions of riders who rely on its services daily, because they have sent a very stern message. ‘The public will have to pay more money out of our pockets’.

Sure, it’s easy to say, “They’re only raising the fare a quarter or two,” but with the latest Goldline plan, one that would extend the Goldline as far as Montclair, I am worried that these fare increases will only be the first of many to come.

In May, Metro board members are scheduled to consider two fare-hike proposals. The first proposal would raise the basic $1.50 bus and rail fare to $1.75 in September, to $2 in four years and $2.25 in 2021. Fares for seniors and the disabled would double to $1.10. A $75 monthly pass would increase to $100.

As someone who’s relied heavily upon public transportation, I just don’t understand how Metro thinks a monthly pass for $100 is plausible. Most people who take the bus or train cannot afford another increase. If you are like myself and you rely on more than one bus per day to get you to your destination, this fare increase can make a significant difference on your bank statements.

For example, I take two buses to get to school, another bus to work, and then two more buses to get home. In four years from now my daily commute would cost me $10. Makes a $5 day-pass seem like a deal.

The only people agreeing with these fare proposals are those who are riding shotgun in mommy’s car or driving their own. Why is it OK for Metro to make decision after decision at the expense of our pockets? Their motto seems to be build first, pay second, and that cannot be allowed. We can’t come to school and get our education first, and then pay; so why is Metro different?

Under an alternative proposal, base fares would remain at $1.50 during non-peak hours. However, rush-hour fares would rise to $2.25 in September and more than double to $3.25 in 2021. A $5 day pass would increase to $13 in 2021, according to Metro officials.

Although my pockets and bank accounts strongly oppose these current fare increases, I hope to God the second proposal doesn’t see the light of day because it will seriously penalize all the hardworking citizens who rely on Metro to get to school and work during rush hour. While it won’t hurt my pockets drastically to pay an extra quarter to ride the bus, the future is what I’m most concerned about.

I don’t want my little sister paying $13 for a day pass to ride the bus when she gets in high school, that’s absurd. But what is more absurd is that majority of the people who ride the bus are already struggling to make a living. $13 or $1.75 per bus ride might not seem like a lot to most, but for those less fortunate, that can be the difference between dinner and school.

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