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MTA Fare Increase

October 23, 1994

Franklin White's commentary, "Transit Can't Think Short Term" (Oct. 14), is patently absurd. He claims that raising bus fares and abolishing monthly passes will relieve gridlocked streets and freeways. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board's decision to do just that prompted me to buy an old junk car last month after depending solely on the bus system for the past five years.

If the gridlock I have been experiencing as a born-again driver is an improvement, it must have been horrendous when the monthly passes kept me riding the buses. Perhaps the MTA board, using White's unusual logic, should raise the bus fare to $20 a ride to make traffic congestion a thing of the past.

It probably hasn't occurred to White and the MTA board that payment of their bloated salaries and perks, construction of their lavish new headquarters building, and insistence on subway construction rather than surface or elevated rail are the real drains on our transit system.

The accompanying piece by Bill Crowfoot, Bill Tan and Eric Toro is correct that we need both bus and rail. Their fallacy is in buying into the nightmare of the obscenely expensive Red Line. For what we have already sunk into that boondoggle, we could have created a functioning regional rail system based on the rights of way still extant from our dear departed Pacific Electric system.

In order for public transit to thrive in Los Angeles, be it bus and/or rail, it must be affordable, run frequently and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In order to get there from here we need to pass Proposition 185 for a modest gasoline tax to improve transportation alternatives and establish a directly elected MTA board whose members would have their driver's licenses suspended for their terms of office.


Los Angeles

* As a former public affairs manager for the MTA, I participated in numerous hearings and community meetings where the public was invited to give input for rail systems in the County of Los Angeles. Many of the participants were active bus riders who supported the construction of rail lines.

Now, with the courts toying with the bus fare-increase issue, it seems the support to rid the county of gridlock has vanished, especially by bus riders--of all ethnic groups--who once looked forward to viable alternatives to driving or owning a vehicle.

White is right! If we don't raise rates now--just to catch up--rich and poor will suffer from the resulting gridlock. We must go forward in using these monies to enhance bus service and complete the construction of the Metro Green Line, Red Line and the Pasadena Blue Line.


San Gabriel

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