Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

From Academic Kids

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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, commonly referred to as LACMTA, MTA, or Metro, is the agency charged to provide public transportation to the County of Los Angeles. It was established in February 1993 from the merger of the Southern California Rapid Transit District (RTD) and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC).

In August 2004, in an effort to rebrand itself, the LACMTA board voted to use the friendlier sounding "Metro" to refer to itself in all advertising campaigns, literature, and where legally permisable in lieu of the harsher sounding acronym "MTA." The Official name of the Agency remains "The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority." The agency had been using the term "Metro" for several years to describe its many services.

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A picture taken of a Gold Line train in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena, California


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A typical Metro Local bus.

Metro services include:

  • Metro Local - The bus system services 18,500 stops on 189 bus lines.
  • Metro Rail - 73.1 miles (118 km) and 62 stations of light and heavy rail with total ridership of over 220,000 passengers per day.
  • Metro Rapid - Distinguished by its red livery, this bus service offers limited stops on many arterial streets. Metro Rapid reduce passenger commute times by up to 25 percent, as the result of several key system attributes including a transit signal priority system in the city of Los Angeles developed by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), less frequent station stops (about every 0.8 miles at major intersections versus 0.2 miles for local service), and low floor buses which permit faster boarding and alighting.
  • Metro Freeway Service Patrol - A joint effort between MTA, Caltrans, and CHP offering free quick-fix repairs and towing from freeways.
  • HOV Lanes - 219 miles (352 km), 423 miles (681 km) both directions/each lane, of carpool, vanpool, and express bus lanes.
  • Bike Paths - 475 miles (764 km) of bikeways for commuter and recreational purposes.
  • Metrolink - Partially funded by the MTA, it is Southern California's regional commuter rail system servicing Ventura County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Orange County, and San Diego County


Fare Regular Senior/Disabled/Medicare
Base Fare $1.25 $.45
Tokens $1.10 --
Metro Day Pass $3.00 $1.50
Weekly Pass $14.00 --
Semi-monthly Pass $27.00 --
Monthly Pass $52.00 $12.00
Metro-to-Muni Transfer $.25 $.10
Metro Bus Night Service (9 pm - 5 am) $.75 $.35
MetroCard $2.00-$80.00 $1.00-$35.00

There are no fare gates on the Metro Rail system. However, the system is patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department and Metro Fare Inspectors who randomly check for tickets. If you are caught without a ticket you can be fined up to $250 and/or ordered to perform community service.

A fare is collected on each boarding of a Metro Bus and no transfers are issued within the system but "Metro-to-Muni" transfers, also called interagency<i> transfers, can be used to transfer to other bus systems.

A $3 day pass may be used an unlimited number of times within the same day for both bus and rail.

Metro Rail

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Los Angeles once had the world's largest rail transit system with 1100 miles (1770 km) of track and 2800 scheduled trains each day (see also: Pacific Electric Railway). Rail lines and cable cars ran up and down every major street in Los Angeles and its suburbs.

In the period after World War II automobile prices dropped, freeways were built, and General Motors et al. purchased urban rail lines across the United States. According to the General Motors streetcar conspiracy, General Motors and a number of conspiring corporations were responsible for the closure of the rail lines. A private company, Metropolitan Coach Lines, did close most of the rail lines in 1954, mainly those previously owned by the Pacific Electric Railway. A public agency, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, a predecessor to the RTD, took control of all remaining passenger rail lines in Los Angeles County in 1958. The agency closed the remaining interurban rail and streetcar lines over the course of the following five years. After almost 90 years of rail history in Los Angeles' the last remaining Red Car line went out of service in 1961 and the last street car line followed suit two years later (See also: National City Lines).

In 1990, rail transit returned to Los Angeles in the form of Metro Rail's Blue Line, a light rail line from Downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach. Today, there are four rail lines that cover 73.1 miles (118 km) of track.


Average boardings *[1] ( for the month of April 2005 are as follows:

Bus lines Blue Line Green Line Red Line Gold Line
Weekdays 1,214,831 73,883 31,431 115,505 15,357
Saturdays 849.347 53,735 21,923 87,665 11,456
Sundays 635,417 38,621 14,202 66,375 11,456


Metro broke ground in 2004 on a six mile (10 km) extension of the Gold Line from Union Station, through Little Tokyo to the corner of Pomona and Atlantic Boulevards in East L.A., called the Eastside Gold Line Extension[2] ( It is expected to be completed in 2009.

Currently, Metro is undergoing environmental review of designing the Exposition Light Rail from 7th/Metro Center in Downtown to Venice and Washington Boulevards in Culver City, and ultimately to the pier in Santa Monica.[3] ( Construction is scheduled to begin in 2006. Phase 1 to Culver City should be completed between 2010 and 2012.

Metro Orange Line is a 14 mile (23 km) dedicated busway traversing the southern San Fernando Valley from the Red Line's North Hollywood station to Warner Center in Woodland Hills. It is scheduled for completion in August 2005. [4] (


Metro is funded by a complex mix of federal, state, county and city tax dollars, as well as fare box revenue and bonds. One percent of county sales tax funds the agency.

California state senator Kevin Murray has advocated placing a 1/2 cent temporary sales tax on the county ballot to provide for public transportation and highway improvements.

The funds gathered from this would be spent on:

  • Full funding for the Expo Line.
  • Extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to San Bernardino County by 2012.
  • Metro Center Regional Connector connecting the Blue and Expo Lines directly to the Gold Line.
  • Full funding for the Red Line extension to Wilshire/Fairfax by 2012.
  • Widening and interchange improvements to the Santa Ana Freeway, Golden State Freeway, and Antelope Valley Freeway.
  • More clean fuel natural gas buses, increased Metrolink commuter train service, sound wall construction, and surface street maintenance.

The likelihood of this tax being voted on in the near future is uncertain, owing to the fact that Los Angeles County has the highest sales tax in the region, and in the wake of the failure of Measure A, a half-percent sales tax increase measure aimed at hiring around 2,000 extra police officers.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Metro has distinguished itself as having the nation's largest clear air fleet with some 2,000 CNG powered buses in active service. The CNG fleet reduces emissions of particulates by 90%, carbon monoxide by 80%, and greenhouse gases by 20% over the 500 remaining diesel powered buses in the fleet. Alternative fuel buses have logged more than 450 million operating miles since 1993, an industry record.

Metro is the second largest and one of the most used public transportation systems in the nation, servicing 1,433 square miles.

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