- Voices From the Frontlines Radio
- Bus Riders Union
- Clean Air, Clean Lungs, Clean Buses Campaign
- Community Rights Campaign
- Transit Riders for Public Transportation
- National School for Strategic Organizing
After more than a decade of being prevented by the BRU and our civil rights Consent Decree, the MTA has been trying to raise fares anew. In 2007, the MTA proposed a draconian set of double and triple fare hikes that would raise the $3 daily pass to $5 and then $8, the $52 monthly pass to $75 and then $120.
The BRU immediately launched the “No Fare Hike” campaign to stop it. After a high-profile coalitional and round-the-clock media campaign in 2007, “No Fare Hike” is now in its third phase, under new conditions created by the passing of Measure R in November 2008, and with our California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit still before the Court of Appeals.
While MTA complains of a budget shortfall to justify raising fares on its predominantly low-income Black, Latino and Asian riders, they continue to move forward with plans to extend the $1.2 Billion Exposition Light Rail and the $7 Billion Red Line Subway Extension to the Sea. These are the very conditions that led to the BRU’s original 1996 Civil Rights Title VI lawsuit which charged that the MTA was having bus riders carry the MTA budget on their backs. MTA’s budget shortfall is self-imposed - if they were truly concerned about solving it, they would stop building multibillion-dollar rail projects that serve no legitimate transit objectives.
Dramatic fare increases push people off the bus in droves, forcing poor people to purchase old polluting clunkers and adding to L.A’s public health crisis and indiscriminate emission of greenhouse gases. More pollutants means more childhood asthma, emphysema, cancer and long-term exacerbation of diabetes. More greenhouse gases means more global warming and catastrophic climate change. MTA officials themselves have acknowledged that fare increases reduce ridership. In 2004, when MTA last increased the price of bus passes, ridership decreased by 5% within a year. In contrast, MTA’s own history demonstrates that fare reduction is a proven method of increasing ridership – from 1982-1985, ridership increased by 41% after fares were reduced to 50 cents. The BRU urges the MTA Board to demonstrate its commitment to improving air quality by rejecting fare hikes and reducing fares to 50 cents and monthly bus passes to $42.
March to June 2007. BRU organizes 1,500 angry bus riders and allies to attend the 6-hour public hearing, where 350 testify. Largest attendance at a MTA public meeting in its history. Hundreds gather in foyer and outside as 200-seat MTA boardroom and both overflow rooms fill to capacity. Despite last-minute alternate proposal from Mayor Villaraigosa, MTA passes harsh fare hikes ranging from 42% (monthly pass) to 67% (daily pass).
Allies include: Saint Agnes Church, St. Thomas Church, Angelic Lutheran Church, Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights Neighborhood Councils and community organizations including Natural Resources Defense Council, People for Parks, Tree People, L.A. Community Action Network, Pilipino Workers Center, SEIU SOULA 2006, IDEPSCA, and Comite Pro Uno.
Media coverage includes: Los Angeles Times, Univision, Telemundo, KTLA, FOX 11, ABC, KFWB Radio, La Opinion, Hoy Newspaper and Korea Daily News.
[read full analysis. LINK to Manuel and Eric’s piece]
September 2007 to present. BRU works with NRDC to file a separate, companion suit to sue the MTA on the grounds that the recent fare increase and ridership reduction require an EIR procedure, and is therefore in violation of the CEQA. Higher fares, less transit riders, more emissions—violating California Air Quality Act. Suit is now before Court of Appeals.
January 2008. With Mayor Villaraigosa’s and Director Richard Katz’s support, BRU defeats a proposed fare policy to codify ongoing fare increases for all bus riders as a major principle of MTA, which would have limited the ability of the public or MTA Board members to oppose future fare increases. One of the goals of the Fare Policy was to reduce MTA subsidies for senior, student and disabled fares. By defeating the policy, the BRU maintained the senior age at 62 to qualify for a monthly pass.
November 2008 to present. Measure R passes. BRU organizes to ensure MTA keeps its promise to use Measure R funds to suspend fare hikes. BRU demands Measure R funds be used to roll back 2007 fare hikes.