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File #: 2021-0372   
Type: Motion / Motion Response Status: Passed
File created: 5/21/2021 In control: Board of Directors - Regular Board Meeting
On agenda: Final action: 5/27/2021
Title: APPROVE Motion by Directors Garcetti, Mitchell, and Krekorian that the Board direct the Chief Executive Officer to implement the Fareless System Initiative, subject to a final financial plan and while pursuing cost-sharing agreements. WE FURTHER MOVE that the Board direct the Chief Executive Officer to: Administrative Coordination A. Develop strategies to streamline and simplify the eligibility process for participants, striving to remove as many barriers to entry as possible; 1. Include an evaluation of a self-attestation process for low-income riders; B. Partner with school districts on administrative coordination to enable availability at pilot launch to all LA County school and community college districts (based on each district's interest), including but not limited to any required Memoranda of Understanding or TAP coordination; Funding C. In partnership with implementation partners and key stakeholders, pursue and support federal and state opportunities and legislation to fu...
Sponsors: Board of Directors - Regular Board Meeting
Indexes: Agreements, Eric Garcetti, Fareless System Initiative, Funding plan, Hilda Solis, Holly J. Mitchell, Janice Hahn, Metro Equity Platform, Mike Bonin, Motion / Motion Response, Partnerships, Paul Krekorian, Pilot studies, Plan, Program, Ridership, Students, Subsidies, Transit Pass
Related files: 2021-0452, 2021-0440

Meeting_Body

REVISED

REGULAR BOARD MEETING

MAY 27, 2021

Preamble

Motion by:

 

DIRECTORS GARCETTI, MITCHELL, AND KREKORIAN

 

Fareless System Initiative

 

Metro’s Fareless System Initiative (FSI) is one of the most transformative efforts Metro can take to help Los Angeles County emerge from the pandemic, advance equity, reduce transportation emissions, simplify students’ return to school, and increase ridership.

 

The pandemic has hit students hard. Once the Department of Public Health and schools deem it safe for students to fully return to in-person learning, Metro, municipal operators (munis), and school districts should do everything possible to make the transition back effortless for these families. Studies across the country have shown that the lack of access to transportation is a barrier to student attendance and, therefore, academic success.

 

Moreover, Metro riders’ median household income is $19,325 systemwide, with approximately 70 percent of Metro riders considered low-income under federal Department of Housing and Urban Development definitions. Many of our riders depend on Metro to reach their jobs as essential workers, and during the pandemic they suffered unavoidable financial impacts. Fareless transit would alleviate some of this burden, helping Los Angeles County get back on its feet.

 

As the FSI pilot has been developed, the following items remain to be finalized:

 

1.                     An efficient implementation process, as well as agreements with the school districts, needs to be put in place to distribute fareless K-12 and Community College student passes.

2.                     A final funding plan needs to be created.

3.                     A key concern of municipal operators is the continuation of existing funding agreements with community colleges. These funding agreements have, in many cases, taken years to negotiate. While FSI remains a pilot, these agreements and processes should be kept in place.

4.                     A mission statement and goals are necessary to help communicate the need for this program.

5.                     The existing FSI Task Force that developed the pilot should be re-formed to focus on implementation.

 

Board action is required to ensure these key areas of risk can be addressed and to provide clarity on FSI’s advancement and next steps.

 

 

Subject

SUBJECT:                     FARELESS SYSTEM INITIATIVE

 

Heading

RECOMMENDATION

 

Title

APPROVE Motion by Directors Garcetti, Mitchell, and Krekorian that the Board direct the Chief Executive Officer to implement the Fareless System Initiative, subject to a final financial plan and while pursuing cost-sharing agreements.

 

WE FURTHER MOVE that the Board direct the Chief Executive Officer to:

 

Administrative Coordination

A.                     Develop strategies to streamline and simplify the eligibility process for participants, striving to remove as many barriers to entry as possible;

 

1.                     Include an evaluation of a self-attestation process for low-income riders;

 

B.                     Partner with school districts on administrative coordination to enable availability at pilot launch to all LA County school and community college districts (based on each district’s interest), including but not limited to any required Memoranda of Understanding or TAP coordination;

 

Funding

C.                     In partnership with implementation partners and key stakeholders, pursue and support federal and state opportunities and legislation to fund the Fareless System Initiative, both the pilot phase and any permanent program (should the Board decide to continue past the proposed pilot period), including but not limited to the federal Freedom to Move Act;

 

D.                     Pursue reasonable cost-sharing agreements with school districts;

 

1.                     Seek to take advantage and leverage any existing student transportation fee programs (e.g., student-approved LACCD fees);

 

2.                     Seek to preserve existing funding agreements between school districts and transit operators;

a. Wherever municipal operators have existing fareless agreements with community college districts, consider accepting muni student transit passes on Metro for the duration of the pilot;

 

3.                     Seek new funding agreements for districts without any existing discounted or fareless student pass programs (e.g., U-Pass);

 

E.                     Consider pursuing private funding opportunities, including but not limited to philanthropic partnerships;

 

Follow-Up

F.                     Report to the Board monthly on the development, launch, and performance of the Fareless System Initiative. The first update should include:

 

1.                     A mission statement and goals for the FSI pilot;

 

2.                     Lists of interested municipal operators, school districts, and community college districts;

 

3.                     An update on the refined FSI financial plan; and

 

4.                     Identification of a cross-departmental implementation team.

 

HAHN AMENDMENT: Direct the Chief Executive Officer to prepare a financial plan for the implementation of a Fareless System Initiative that meets the conditions provided below to the Board’s satisfaction:

 

1.                     Municipal and local operators that choose to participate will be fully included and provided the same type of fare subsidy as Metro transit operations, in order to ensure a seamless rider experience regardless of geographic location or transit provider;

 

2.                     The initiative is funded without reducing existing transit operations or state of good repair expenditures or by using regional funding typically committed to bus and rail transit operations or intended for the capital program;

 

3.                     Opportunities to expand or adjust existing fare subsidy programs to maximize community benefit have been studied and presented to the Board; and,

 

4.                     An initiative can be scaled and/or targeted in a manner that best aligns with Metro’s Equity Platform, adopted by the Board in March 2018.

 

MITCHELL AMENDMENT: Direct Metro CEO to Continue the current fare collection policy in perpetuity until the Metro Board is satisfied with a financial plan for Fareless.

 

BONIN AMENDMENT:

 

1.                     Report back in the financial plan with information on the costs, including administration, technology, and enforcement, of the proposed pilot program compared to a universal fare-free system.

 

2.                     Include in the overall final program evaluation:

 

a.                     Reach of the program, including student and low-income participation rates.

 

b.                     Effectiveness of the program in improving mobility, increasing student attendance and performance, shifting travel behavior, reducing automobile use, and increasing transit ridership.

 

c.                     The net cost of the program and cost per rider.

 

SOLIS AMENDMENT: Report back on the feasibility of using the Federal American Rescue plan funding for the pilot.