By City News Service
Proposed hikes to Metro fares will be discussed at a March 29 public hearing set Thursday by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board.
Public transit passengers and others will get a chance to give input during that day's Metro board meeting, which starts at 9 a.m.
Metro officials -- projecting a $36 million budget deficit over the next two years -- are proposing two new fare structures, one of which would incrementally raise the base fare from the current $1.50 to as high as $3.25 during peak hours by 2021.
Increases also are being proposed for most other categories, including for seniors and students, as well as day, weekly and monthly pass users.
In both structures, incremental hikes would take effect in 2015, 2018 and 2021.
Under one option, the $1.50 base fare would increase by a quarter during each phase -- to $1.75 in 2015, $2 in 2018, and to $2.25 in 2021.
A second option would increase base fares much more steeply during peak hours, while applying slightly smaller increases for "off-peak" hours lasting from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays, and all day on weekends and federal holidays.
This means peak-hour base fares would increase to $2.25 in 2015, $2.75 in 2018 and $3.25 in 2021.
During off-peak hours, the base fare would stay at $1.50 in 2015, go up to $1.75 in 2018 and rise to $2 in 2021.
Under both proposed fare systems, the base fare would allow Metro riders to transfer as often they want within the 90 minutes after boarding their first bus or rail car using their TAP card.