Some want the brakes put on Metro fare hike

first_imgNORTH HOLLYWOOD – Warren Sapp doesn’t mind paying $3 for a Metro day pass, but he might start driving if prices for public transportation increase this summer as planned. The decision is expected today after a public hearing at Metro headquarters. The Metro board is scheduled to vote on a two-tier plan to raise fares in July and again in 2009. For Sapp, 44, that means the cost for his day pass could increase to $5 this summer and $8 in two years. The same all-day pass costs $5 in Chicago and $7 in New York. “Man, that’s quite a bit,” Sapp said of the prices in those cities. “I think we’ve had it good in L.A., but I think the price is reasonable. For an $8 pass every day, you might as well get a car.” After unveiling the plan in March, Metro has faced significant public opposition, largely from the Bus Riders Union. A lawsuit filed by the advocacy organization triggered a federal consent decree on the transit agency in 1996. Metro was forced to invest $1.3 billion to improve bus service and could not increase fares for years. The mandate was lifted in October. Metro officials say fare hikes are necessary to help get out from under a looming $1.8 billion deficit and to maintain today’s level of service. Some regular bus riders are reeling with sticker shock over the leap in price for some tickets. A weekly pass, for example, is $14 now and could reach $20 in July and $32 in two years. Today’s $52 monthly pass could reach $75 this summer and $120 in 2009. Maria Heck said fare increases are understandable, but she wants them to come at a more gradual pace. The 64-year-old disabled woman is concerned that prices will become unaffordable for her husband and son, who also rely on the bus. “Increase them, but to something decent, like a 10 percent increase,” she said. [email protected] (818) 713-3746160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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