LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) ⁠— The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors voted Thursday to take steps to reduce the cost of rider passes by half once normal boarding resumes.

People board a bus wearing face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic in South Los Angeles. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“I think it’s time for Metro to join in providing relief of its own,” Mayor Eric Garcetti, who sits on the board, said. “We’ve known for a long time (the) fare structure isn’t perfect, that overcharge is present for some and undercharges for others. And one of the biggest problems is the cost of full-price passes.”

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Garcetti said Metro’s current 30-day pass, which currently costs $100, is one of the least affordable public transit passes in the nation.

According to the Metro Board report, reducing the cost of full-price passes would have a “marginal impact on Metro’s fare revenue.” In February, Metro said it sold about $2 million in full-price 30-day, seven-day and one-day passes.

The proposed fare reduction would last for at least six months and would drop the price of daily passes to $3.50, seven-day passes to $12.50 and 30-day passes to $50.

The fare decrease is an effort to help those struggling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but Channing Martinez, a member of the Bus Riders Union in Los Angeles, said the city should make Metro services free to riders through Dec. 31.

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“I’m here to urge you to stand with the Bus Riders Union in implementing free public transportation for all (Los Angeles Unified School District) students,” Martinez said. “Many LAUSD students are unfortunately houseless and cannot afford the fare, and many more black passengers are targeted on Metro under the guise of fare evasion.”

A report will come back to the Metro Board in 30 days with recommendations on temporarily lowering fares for all of Metro’s services with recommendations on welcoming riders back and examining ways to keep passes affordable.

The board also directed Metro staff to prepare a marketing plan to inform frequent riders of the fare changes, with particular focus on helping cash-paying riders take advantage of the promotional fares by transitioning to TAP-card payments.

Between its rail and bus ridership, Metro said it still services more than 400,000 people a week.

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