L.A. Metro approves new fare policy that includes a simplified structure and fare capping

Dec. 5, 2022
The new policy is expected to go into effect by the summer of 2023 and eliminates the need for paying up-front for multi-day passes.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) Board of Directors approved a new fare policy, that extends existing discounts, eliminates extra charges for certain services and implements fare capping. L.A. Metro says the approved policy makes it so no customer overpays for riding L.A. Metro buses and trains. The new fare policy was developed to provide a better customer experience by making the transit system easy to use, affordable and equitable for all L.A. Metro customers.

The new fare policy, which is expected to go into effect by the summer of 2023, will benefit L.A. Metro customers by capping how much they will need to pay each day and week to ride buses and trains, eliminating the need for paying up-front for multi-day passes.

"Our Board action today exemplifies our goal to make it as easy as possible for our transit customers to ride Metro," said Glendale City Council Member and Metro Board Chair Ara J. Najarian. "The new fare structure and policy will surely help our current customers, as well as attract new daily customers to our transit system."

The board also approved the staff recommendation to extend the sale of seven-day and 30-day passes at a 50 percent discount until June 30, 2023, or until fare capping is launched, so that customers do not see an increase in cost. The pass discount was slated to expire on December 31, 2022.

 How fare capping works

Under the new fare policy, L.A. Metro customers using a TAP card will pay as they go and will never pay more than $5 each day or $18 each week for unlimited rides – which is less than the regular price of the authority’s regular seven-day and 30-day passes. Once customers reach the daily or weekly fare cap, they will not have to pay additional fares. The new policy will make one-day, seven-day and 30-day passes unnecessary, so they will be eliminated, making the fare structure less complicated for customers to use and for L.A. Metro to administer.

Fare for buses and trains remains at $1.75 (which includes a two-hour and one-directional Metro to Metro transfer). Students in grades K-12 will see their base fare drop from $1 to $0.75 cents and college and vocational students will see their base fare drop from $1.75 to $0.75 cents to match the fare discount offered to seniors and disabled persons. Student fares will be capped at $2.50 per day and $6 a week. The base fare for seniors and customers with disabilities will remain at $0.75 cents during peak hours and $0.35 cents during off-peak hours ,and the daily cap will remain at $2.50. Under the new plan, they will now have access to a lower weekly cap at $5.

"The cost of transportation should never stand between Angelenos and opportunity," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "If we're going to change the car culture here in Los Angeles, we need to break down every barrier to riding Metro, and this new fare policy will make our systems more affordable, accessible, and appealing for every Angeleno."

Other key fare policy changes include:

  • Removing the additional charge on the Silver Line and Express Bus service
  • Increasing the expiration of TAP cards up to 15 years instead of 10 years
  • Digital TAP cards through the TAP mobile application or Apple Wallet will be free of charge
  • Reduced Fare TAP cards will also remain free
  • Those enrolled in the LIFE and GoPass programs will not be affected by the new fare structure

"Our new fare capping policy will save our customers money and ensure that no one overpays," said L.A. Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins. "Fare capping is one of a suite of programs we’ve instituted to lower transportation costs for Angelenos and make our system more accessible and equitable for everyone."

Over the past few years, L.A. Metro has prioritized making transit more affordable and accessible for L.A. County residents. In late 2021, the Metro Board approved the creation of the GoPass pilot program, which gives free transit passes to K-12 and community college students at 50 participating school districts and 14 participating community colleges in L.A. County. To date, more than 10 million free rides have been delivered to students using GoPass.

L.A. Metro also launched the Low-Income Fare is Easy (LIFE) program in late 2021, which offers 20 free rides a month and deeply discounted fares to low-income riders on Metro and 13 other local transit providers. To date, more than 187,000 L.A. County residents have signed up for the LIFE program, and Metro has delivered more than 9.4 million discounted rides under the program in 2022.

 In October, L.A. Metro released an initial fare capping proposal to make paying fares to ride L.A. Metro simpler and more affordable for public comment on Nov. 14. The fare policy reflects the feedback the authority received from customers and community members at the November hearing, as well as mail, email and other stakeholder outreach.