LOS ANGELES—Starting October 1, students enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District and other participating districts of Los Angeles County will be able to take the subway for free under a pilot program that will run until June 30, 2023.
Los Angeles Unified Interim Superintendent Megan K. “Getting a free Metro TAP card in the hands of every Los Angeles Unified student will be a game-changer,” Reilly said. “Our commitment to providing free transportation will expand our students’ worldview. They will be able to access
Additional educational opportunities such as internships, employment, and other meaningful experiences and recreational activities outside their immediate neighborhood. “
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation (LADOT) Authority Board of Directors approved the 23-month pilot on Sept. This applies to all K-12 and community college school districts that have agreed to a cost sharing with LA Metro. As of September 23, 41 of Los Angeles County’s 87 school districts have expressed interest in the program, and Metro said Wednesday that agreements are being finalized with 30 schools and districts.
Most of the $49.9 million pilot program—$41.5 million—will be paid for by the federal US Rescue Plan.
Students will receive a free TAP card that can be used on all Metro-operated transit options and will be able to use other municipally operated transit systems in the area for free, including Culver City, Norwalk, LADOT’s Dash, Montebello, and Santa Monica.
“The cost of transportation should never stand between our students and the opportunity,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, who serves on Metro’s board of directors. “Access to our system should be a right, not a privilege, and the decision to move forward with free ridership for young Angelenos is an important step toward a system that is accessible to every rider – zip code or income level. regardless.”
Metro fare revenue currently pays for transit operation and maintenance, but Metro receives additional funding through sales taxes and state and federal grants. Additional funding options for the pilot program identified by metro officials include advertising revenue, cost-sharing, and grant money through the Traffic Reduction Program.
“Now more than ever, as we recover from the pandemic, it is important that our youth have access to public transportation,” said Hilda El Solis, chairman of the Metro Board and president of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “In January 2020, I was proud to write a proposal on Metro to explore providing free transit for students in Los Angeles County. Today that dream is being fulfilled through the Fairless System Initiative of Metro. Students across the county will now be able to use our transit system without having to worry about paying for school commuting, extracurricular activities and jobs. “
The pilot was tested in August, with 5,600 test TAP cards distributed to Los Angeles County students. Metro initially explored expanding the program in January 2022 to low-income riders, who represent 70 percent of Metro’s riders, but that expansion is contingent on $416 million in new funding.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times