Metrolink, the commuter railroad in Los Angeles that has faced declining ridership for the past few years, has a new CEO: Art Leahy, formerly of LA Metro.
One of his first actions will be to test out reduced fares. A pilot program on the Antelope Valley line will reduce all fares by 25% for 6 months.
Additionally, local fares will be steeply discounted. Trips from one station to the next will cost $2, and a ride between stations two stops apart will cost $4. This discount is only valid between 9am-2pm.
Previously, local fares have been prohibitively expensive. A trip of as little as two miles can cost $5 on Metrolink, making its short-haul fares some of the highest in the country. The national average local fare on commuter railroads is about $3
Part of the reason fares were set so high to discourage local riders has been to divert these riders to local buses. In a region with many local transit operators, each has their own territory.Metrolink is a multi-county entity that is largely structured to serve long-distance trips. City and regional entities are meant to serve local trips.
These political separations have resulted in a climate where the agencies believe that a local rider “should” take the bus and not the train, because it’s not the railroad’s focus to carry local riders. This is regardless of what mode of travel is actually best suited for the trip.
Time-wise, Metrolink is highly competitive in local markets. The railroad’s Antelope Valley Line runs to Glendale and Burbank, two cities near Los Angeles. Continue reading