LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority will eliminate nine bus lines and reduce service on several others starting Sunday.
Metro spokesman Rick Jager said the cuts will save $30 million a year, and are part of a package — along with layoffs and the cancellation or deferral of certain projects — to close an operating deficit of $250 million this fiscal year.
Five Metro Rapid lines and four local lines will be canceled, and their service reallocated to other other lines operating along the same corridors.
Also, some Saturday and Sunday service will be canceled.
“Basically, what we’ve tried to take a look at was that the service reductions were evenly spread out throughout the county, and that there was nearby service within a quarter of a mile walking distance so that people would not be stranded,” Jager said.
“Also, in terms of the Metro Rapid service, there are five Metro Rapid lines that are under-performing, so we’re going to be canceling those lines and then taking that service that was provided on the Metro Rapid and putting it back on the local service along that corridor,” he said.
According to Metro, the average length of a passenger’s trip on Metro Rapid lines 711, 714, 715, 753 and 920 is not much longer or faster than on the local lines serving the same area. As a result, those canceled Metro Rapid lines will be folded into Local/Limited service lines 311, 14, 115, 53 and 720.
Jager could not provide an estimate of how many passengers would be affected by the changes, but said the cuts represented a 3.7 percent reduction in Metro’s bus service hours.
Metro’s revised timetables for bus service are posted on its website, Metro.net, and aboard its buses. Information on specific bus routes are available at (323) GO-METRO or (323) 466-3876.
Metro officials have blamed the agency’s $250 million budget deficit on decreased ridership, the loss of state funds and decreases in revenue from two of the county’s three transportation sales taxes — all factors driven by the economic recession.
The reduction in bus service comes five months after Metro raised its fares for the first time in 15 years to boost annual revenue by $24 million.
The fare for one-way rides rose by 25 cents to $1.50, while monthly passes went up by $13 to $75. Meanwhile, daily passes went from $5 to $6, and the EZ transit pass from $70 to $84.
Even with the increase, fares make up just 28 percent of what it costs to operate the bus and rail services, according to another Metro spokesman, Marc Littman.
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