After several hours of public testimony, most of it in opposition, the Los Angeles County Metro board on Thursday voted 12-1 to raise fares.
Before the vote, members of the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority board had debated whether the fare increase would unfairly impact low-income transit users.
Audience members at the downtown Los Angeles hearing rose to applaud Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, the only board member who opposed the increase, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The vote came as the board was faced with a projected budget deficit and rising operating costs, according to Metro.
Under the approved fare hike, regular one-way fares will increase from $1.50 to $1.75 but will include a free transfer that will last two hours.
The board had voted in 2007 to stop offering transfer “as a way to reduce fraud and raise revenues,” Metro stated on its blog The Source.
“Metro CEO Art Leahy, who began his job in 2009, and many experts outside the agency have said that encouraging transfers is a far wiser and efficient way to run a transit agency, given that about half of Metro’s riders must transfer to complete their trips,” the blog stated.
More information about senior, disabled and student fares was available from The Source blog post.
The rates will go into effect no earlier than Sept. 1, according to the agency’s Twitter account.
Additional rate increases proposed for 2017 and 2020 were not approved. Board members voted to ask for further study of those proposed hikes.
The fare increases mark the fourth hike since 1993, when Metro began operating as a new agency, according to The Source.