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MTA Fare Hike, Labor Dispute

July 24, 1994

* I want to thank the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for buying me a car.

Word that the MTA will more than double the cost of a one-way ride on the Blue Line to $2.35 (July 14) makes the economics of this unavoidably simple. Include the 25-cent DASH shuttle bus ride from the Blue Line stop to my office. My environmentally and traffic-friendly commute on mass transit under the new fare structure will soon cost $2.60 each way: $1,352 a year.

Well, let's see. There is a 1985 Chrysler LeBaron listed in the classified section for $975. I could pay for that in under 10 months. Or perhaps I want to invest the money saved by avoiding the Blue Line for 18 months. I could buy an '82 Buick Regal w/cass. Amortize my cost savings over three or four years . . . and the MTA could buy me something really cool.

Sure, there are gasoline, insurance and maintenance to worry about. But think of my newfound freedom: to pump my fair share of smog into Southland skies while adding to the bottlenecks as yet another lone freeway commuter.


Long Beach

* The tack that the MTA is taking in solving its present labor dispute with bus and trolley drivers is tragic for those passengers that can ill afford the already-approved fare increases, and laughable in view of the projected losses in ridership.

If these increases in fares and reductions in ridership and services continue, I estimate that by the year 2094 there will be four buses and two trolley cars left on the streets of Los Angeles, and the average one-way fare will be roughly $768!

As ridiculous as this may seem, I think I have come up with a solution that may be even more ridiculous. Why not slash fares in half, which will result not in doubling the ridership but quadrupling it? The only problem that may be encountered is what the MTA will do with all the money it will make.


Sherman Oaks

* Rude behavior does not make for a civilized society, particularly when it is displayed from the public officials of the MTA, as chastised by Bill Boyarsky in his column (July 17). I ride the bus nearly every day, and rude behavior from any bus rider is never accepted. But, I do not believe that the MTA board members or their staff would be aware of the code of polite behavior. Their rudeness confirms their disrespect of the public, who pay their salaries and passed the bond measures for the mass transit bonds which the lobbyists have taken full draught of at the open tap of construction funds.

I seriously doubt they ride the bus with any frequency; perhaps weekly bus riding should be a duty of MTA board members and their aides. If they did ride the bus they would, hopefully, show more reverence to us bus riders, and also see the bus system for its good qualities and faults. Perhaps they would stop calling the two uncovered bus benches in the parking lot of Fox Hills mall a "Transit Center" and erect stops which show respect for riders, some who can afford no other transportation, or others, like myself, who are so concerned about the city and air pollution that we leave our cars at home.


Los Angeles

* I wish to respond to Boyarsky's column regarding the conduct of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors at a meeting when the board voted to raise bus and train fares. Boyarsky was critical of the board's public decorum, but it is apparent that the columnist did not attend either of the previous two lengthy public hearings the MTA held in April and May on possible fare hikes and service cuts in the budget.

If he had, he would have known that the board heard from hundreds of concerned citizens, many of whom spoke again at the meeting he did attend. He also would have known that the board was attempting, to the best of its ability, to craft a fare structure that would impact our riders with as little pain as possible.

You cannot raise fares and expect the public to be happy about it. But the public expects the board to come up with a balanced budget--to resolve a $126 million shortfall that has been the subject of public debate for nearly one year.

The board is far more in touch with our riders than Boyarsky thinks. None of us wanted a fare hike. Several board members spent many hours over the last six months in committee meetings looking for ways to avoid raising fares. Also, over the last year, the authority has cut more than 500 positions, affecting the lives of hundreds of our employees and their families during a troublesome time of economic uncertainty. We also have slashed spending on many projects, actions that reduce opportunities for the private sector.

We have not raised fares in six years--a feat rarely duplicated by any other major carrier. And our fare structure provides a discount mechanism--the use of lower-cost tokens--which will allow the regular rider to save $4.50 a week, or $18 a month over the base cash price, if that patron makes one round-trip a day.


MTA Board Member

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