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File photo: A conductor steps down from the engine of a Metrolink train on the Los Angeles-bound Monday morning commute September 15, 2008 in Chatsworth, California.
Most people who ride Los Angeles County Metro buses and trains will have to plunk more money into ticket vending machines today. So will passengers on the Metrolink commuter rail that serves L.A., Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Some passengers are upset about the fare hikes, while others shrug it off.
On L.A. Metro, the base fare for a one-way trip rises from $1.25 to $1.50. Day passes are now $6 instead of $5. And passengers will pay $13 more if they buy a monthly pass. It was $62. Now it’s $75.
Senior citizens, disabled riders and Medicare recipients are exempt from the Metro fare increase – at least for now. Students like Badonna Chynyonn Oparaocha, 38, won’t have to pay either. Oparaocha rides the Metro Gold Line train from Pasadena and transfers to a Torrance-bound bus every day for vocational training as a solar installer. At L.A. Union Station, she said that even if she did have to pay more to ride, it wouldn’t bother her too much.
“It’s nowhere near as bad as driving in a metropolitan area such as this because it’s not just the driving, it’s the traffic," says Oparaocha. "That eats up a lot of gas. Stop and go. Stop and go. And then try and find parking somewhere. And then that’s going to be a $200 ticket. I used to get parking tickets all the time; that’s why I don’t drive anymore.”
The fare hike is déjà vu for a former New Yorker who only offered his first name, Alex. The regular on the San Bernardino Metrolink commuter rail line remembers when subway fares in the Big Apple rose several years ago. He was ticked then – and he’s ticked now.
“I come out from Chino Hills to do work every day out here. I do post-edit out here and it sucks man. And the fact that they take the little bit of change that we could use to get lunch during the day... we’re all struggling nowadays, you know what I’m saying?”
Passengers like Alex who ride commuter rail are paying about 6 percent more for their tickets starting today. That averages about 33 cents more per trip.