The bus and train fares of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority increased on Monday, September 15. On the eve of hikes, there was not yet enough notices on the buses and trains, just some randomly placed small pamphlets. They were too tiny to be found, and apparently no one noticed.
It had been the first increase of fares since 2010, when daily fares increased by 25 cents and monthly passes increased by $13. In 2014, the one-way ride went up from $1.50 to $1.75, a monthly pass jumped up from $75 to $100, and a one-day pass went from $5 to $7.
The reason behind raising fares is clear: the enormous cost for extensions to the railways such as the Gold Line toward Montclair, the Purple Line reaching UCLA, and the Expo Line approaching Santa Monica. MTA raised its fares for apparently collecting money for these plans; nonetheless, expanding rail ways will probably decrease the L.A. traffic and save Angelenos’ time.
The fare increases do come with a new benefit. For one-way riders, the price hike may seem unfair. However, the new $1.75 fare includes a free transfer within two hours, meaning it can now pay for two bus rides. All ticket vending machines, ads and new fare notices alongside windows on trains show the new Metro fares to passengers, but these free transfer opportunities are not well publicized. If passengers don’t know about the free transfers, they may be forced to pay an additional $1.75 or purchase a day pass.
Full-time student prices remain the same. For full-time students who are taking more than 12 units, they are eligible to buy a $35 semester-long pass, which is the same as last semester. Part-time students do not get a discount on single fares or one day passes but do get small discounts on monthly and weekly passes. They save only $5 on monthly passes and 75 cents on weekly passes.
These new rates can harm students’ educational plan. They may give up school because the transportation fee became higher than they anticipated. It could also be the reason they have to drop classes or skip studying at the library.
Transportation fees are just one expense for students, who also have to pay for classes, books, and sometimes required class materials. The hikes may harm students indirectly, and some students might not be able to afford the transportation fee, thus ending their education.