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Metro giving free rides on election day

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Other agencies are also offering free trips Tuesday

Metro train station
Riders can take Metro trains and buses free of charge on election day.
Walter Cicchetti/Shutterstock

Trying to get to the polls? Taking public transit could be a good option, as Metro is offering free rides on its trains and buses this election day.

The transit agency’s board of directors unanimously approved a plan last month to eliminate fares for riders on November 6.

Other local transit agencies will also be offering free rides. They include the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (which operates DASH buses), Long Beach Transit, Pasadena Transit, Santa Clarita Transit, and Baldwin Park Transit.

Access Services shuttles will also be free Tuesday for riders going to and from a polling station.

Trains, buses, and shuttles aren’t the only way to get to the ballot box. Ride hailing companies Uber and Lyft will offer discounted rides for voters across the Los Angeles area on election day.

Metro is also offering 30 minutes free on its bike share network Tuesday. Riders will have to enter promo code 1162018 to activate the ride.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who introduced the proposal for free rides along with boardmembers Sheila Kuehl, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Robert Garcia, acknowledged that losing a day’s worth of fares would be a “financial hit” for Metro, but said the move would be “well worth it for our democracy.”

According to Metro spokesperson Rick Jager, lost revenue on election day is expected to amount to roughly $600,000.

As the motion calling for the free rides notes, voter turnout in LA County’s primary elections in June was just 28 percent.

Garcetti argued Thursday that making it easier for Angelenos to get to the polls would help boost those numbers, citing research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that found transportation problems were a deterring factor for more than half of non-voters in California’s 2016 elections.

“A lack of transportation should never stand between a voter and the polls,” Garcetti said.