Metro is being forced into a delicate dance with their fares: they have to raise them to stave off deficits, lay-offs, and potential cuts to service, but they also have to not piss off the public. Mayor Garcetti and two other members of Metro's board have come up with a potential solution by offering a modest fare hike to go into effect this summer and then a delay on two more increases now planned for 2017 and 2020, the LA Times reports. If passed, Garcetti's plan would bump bus and rail fare from $1.50 to an undisclosed amount and hold the '17 and '20 increases until a panel of transpo experts gauge Metro's financial situation. Two other proposals would bump fares from $1.50 to $1.75 this year (still super-cheap compared to other cities), $2 in a few years, and $2.25 in 2021 (when rail service will have reached West LA, Santa Monica, Inglewood, Leimert Park, and the eastern San Gabriel Valley). Another proposal would keep the $1.50 rate for non-peak hours, but, starting this summer, increase rush-hour fares to $2.25; then they would go up to $3.25 in 2021. All proposals include changes to the currently frustrating transfer policy, which requires a new ticket for each leg of the journey, and likely allow riders some length of time to jump between buses and trains with no additional fee. Another idea would phase out the current monthly pass for a more expensive one that would allow rides on all LA County bus systems, like Big Blue Bus and DASH. The board will look at all the alternatives at their meeting on Thursday.
· Metro urges three consecutive fare hikes; new plan would delay two [LAT]