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L.A. City Council moves to double DASH bus fares

June 4, 2010 |  2:36 pm

Fares on the Los Angeles DASH bus system will double over the next 13 months under a plan approved Friday by the City Council.

On a 10-0 vote, the council agreed to increase bus fares from 25 cents to 35 cents starting Aug. 1 and to 50 cents starting July 1, 2011.

A second vote is scheduled Tuesday, when the council will be asked to approve an ordinance enacting the fare increases. The increases are part of a larger plan backed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s appointees on the Transportation Commission for cutting transit lines and boosting revenue from riders.

As part of that plan, fares will also go up on the city’s Commuter Express system, which takes passengers to downtown from outlying communities, such as Sylmar and Redondo Beach.

Commuter Express fares currently range from 90 cents to $3.10, depending on how far the buses travel. On July 1, 2011, fares would range from $1.50 to $4.25.

Under the city’s cutback plan, the Department of Transportation is scheduled to eliminate three DASH routes that circulate downtown and three routes that operate in Hollywood, Hyde Park and Warner Center.

The agency also would phase out three Commuter Express routes: Line 575, which travels from Simi Valley to Warner Center; Line 413, which moves from Van Nuys and North Hollywood to downtown; and Line 430, which runs from Pacific Palisades to downtown Los Angeles.

Council members Bill Rosendahl, Paul Koretz and Tom LaBonge tried to save Line 430 last month by persuading their colleagues to double DASH fares immediately.

They backed away from that idea Friday, with Rosendahl saying Line 430 does not have enough riders to justify its continuation. On several other DASH and Commuter Express routes, buses will arrive less frequently or travel shorter distances.

Shortly before the vote, several council members voiced dismay about a plan to eliminate the city’s charter bus program, which takes seniors and children to concerts, museums and special events for free.

Council members Ed Reyes and Janice Hahn asked transportation officials to search for money to preserve at least a part of the program. Councilman Dennis Zine said the city has no choice but to move ahead with the cuts.

“The problem is, there’s only so much money,” he said. “And we have to come to the realization that we’re going to have to make some cutbacks to every service we provide.”

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall