Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

  by Pensyfan19
LA Metro is studying the possibility of eliminating all fares for their services. Pretty interesting to hear something like this proposed for the United States.

LA Metro to Study Possibility of Eliminating All Fares
LA Metro will study the possibility of eliminating all bus and light rail fares, CEO Phil Washington told Thursday’s meeting of the Metro Board of Directors. If adopted, the proposal would make Metro the world’s largest transit system to go entirely fareless. A blog post on Metro’s website says Washington presented the idea as an economic development tool to improve mobility, put money back in the pockets of people recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, and greatly increase ridership.

“Fare-free transit will help essential workers, moms and dads, students, seniors and riders with disabilities,” Washington told the blog. “I view this as something that could change the life trajectory of millions of people and families in L.A. County, the most populous county in America.”

The task force studying the plan is to report back to Washington and the Metro board by the end of 2020. Among the topics it will consider are:

— Possible local, state, or federal grants that might help pay for fare-free operation, as well as reallocation of Metro funds from sources like advertising or sponsorships.

— Potential impact on other transit agencies in Los Angeles county, both in terms of ridership and allocation of state and local funding.

— The current cost of fare collection in terms of equipment, staff, and enforcement.

— The impact of a fareless system on ridership and the riders experience, service levels and operations, and car traffic.

In fiscal 2019, the agency collected between $250 million and $300 million in fares, recovering about 13% of its annual operating budget.
  by lensovet
Well when your fare recovery ratio is that low…
  by R36 Combine Coach
Pittsburgh already has a free downtown subway.
  by electricron
Pittsburgh is not planning to expand their rail transit system, Los Angeles is.
Los Angeles will be having a referendum to increase property taxes to accelerate expanding its’ rail transit system, how much will having free fares slow down that expansion? Or would it be better to suggest the new taxes will be used to provide free fares while no expansion occurs at all?
It has been my experience services provide free are not valued as much as services one has to pay for.
  by ExCon90
I see that one of the things they'll be looking at is the impact on ridership and possible increase in service levels; in LA's climate they should expect increased joyriding on hot days--a no-cost way to keep cool for people without air-conditioning which could actually result in a need for increased frequencies just when electricity demand is peaking.
  by BandA
Will they then reimpose fares when it becomes crowded?