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Passengers Held Hostage by RTD?

November 10, 1988

The Southern California Rapid Transit District has been making a lot of noise lately about being held hostage by the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission. But officials haven't said one word about the RTD itself holding the bus riders in the San Gabriel Valley hostage. RTD seems to have put its turf ahead of its riders.

We think that there is a way for the RTD to get out of a financial disaster that the RTD itself has created.

The Foothill Transit Zone was approved by the commission almost one year ago. This zone will run 20 lines that the RTD has operated--with cost savings of more than 35% and better service than the RTD provides. But the RTD continues to impede its implementation.

The cost savings and better service of the zone have been proven by the operation of six demonstration Foothill Transit lines over the past year.

It is ironic that the RTD talks about the commission holding elderly, disabled and student riders hostage--because those are the three groups of riders that RTD hit the hardest with its fare increases last July. For example, elderly and disabled riders on Foothill Transit demonstration line 494 now pay a maximum cash fare of 40 cents. If they ride an RTD bus the same distance they have to pay $1.15.

Senior, disabled and student riders who use passes are also hard hit by RTD fares. On Foothill Transit lines, these riders avoided monthly pass increases ranging from 43% to 67% that RTD riders have to absorb.

As we understand the RTD's current funding calamity, the RTD can't get $9 million a month because its labor agreements don't meet the commission's guidelines for distribution of discretionary money. All 13 of the other transit agencies in Los Angeles County met the guidelines. And those funding guidelines were upheld in court.

The solution seems simple to us. RTD should consent to the formation of the Foothill Transit Zone. If that happened, we would argue strongly on behalf of the RTD that such a consent meets the spirit of the funding guidelines, and we would help them try to get their $9 million a month.

DON McMILLEN,

president, Foothill Transit Zone;

mayor, El Monte

JUDY WRIGHT,

vice president, Foothill Transit Zone;

mayor, Claremont

BOB BARTLETT,

director, Foothill Transit Zone;

mayor, Monrovia

LEN MARTYNS,

director, Foothill Transit Zone;

mayor pro tem, Glendora

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