K-12, community college students can ride the subway for free starting November 1 – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Beginning at the end of the year, K-12 and community college students in Los Angeles County will be able to use public transportation for free under a new curriculum approved Thursday.

The LA County Metropolitan Transit Authority Board of Directors has given final approval to a 23-month pilot program that allows Kindergarten to Grade 12 students and anyone enrolled in community college to travel without Metro fare to from November 1st.

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The program is expected to cost around $ 49.9 million in lost revenue over two years. 41 of 87 LA County school districts are interested in participating in the program.

The majority of the pilot, $ 41.5 million, will be paid for by the $ 1.9 trillion U.S. federal bailout that was approved by Congress and enacted by President Joe Biden in March.

Metro currently offers fare reductions to people earning $ 39,450 per year or less, those aged 62 and over, veterans and people with disabilities, K-12 students, and those in college or at vocational school.

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Low-income users represent 70% of Metro users. While the board did not vote on Thursday to implement the No-Fee System for Low-Income Users initiative, it did vote to develop a plan to double the number of participants in its LIFE program, which helps low-income LA County residents with free or subsidized access to public transportation.

Subway fare revenues currently cover transit operations and maintenance, but Metro receives additional funding through sales tax and state and federal grants. Additional funding options for the pilot program identified by Metro officials include advertising revenue, cost sharing and subsidies through the traffic reduction program.

The pilot was developed in part to test whether Metro can move to a universal fare-free system that eliminates fares from its train and bus service for all riders.

The buses, which were free during the pandemic, will resume collecting fares in January.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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