LA Metro plans to increase ridership to pre-pandemic levels

With the threat of COVID-19 receding, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to focus on increasing ridership levels that fell 70% during the pandemic and expanding transportation service by common to low-income communities, according to senior transit officials in the agency’s annual report. of the Agency’s event.

For the first time in 28 years, the agency will be headed by two women: Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Chairman of the Metro Board, and CEO Stephanie Wiggins. They said they would share responsibility for making the $ 8 billion agency more equitable and accessible after a devastating pandemic.

“The truth is that the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated structural inequalities in the county but also across the country, from homelessness to housing to health disparities and more,” Solis said. “And we have to ask ourselves what role Metro can play in solving these problems and what can we do better? “

Solis, Wiggins and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, outgoing Metro board chairman, highlighted last year’s pain while emphasizing the promise of the future.

“In my State of the City address this spring, I said that the word that came to my mind that defines Los Angeles in 2021 is ‘become’,” Garcetti said. “It’s a city that becomes fairer, becomes more egalitarian, becomes nicer, becomes more itself … and who we are and who we are in Los Angeles is encapsulated in this remarkable agency.”

Garcetti acknowledged the difficulties of a pandemic year in which metro ridership fell by 70% and the agency was forced to drastically cut its bus and train services. Eleven Metro employees and two contractors have died from the coronavirus, Garcetti said, as he asked for a minute of silence.

With the pandemic and last year’s racial calculus demonstrating the need for agency reform, officials face the daunting task of sustaining the current transit system while implementing improvements. The agency is building or extending 15 bus lines.

“We have open heart surgery while we run a marathon,” Garcetti said. “We’re building a whole new system while we maintain one. ”

Wiggins and Solis said they shared a vision to make the transit system more equitable and accessible for all residents of Los Angeles County, including youth, low-income residents and the homeless.

Solis said she plans to help expand the transit system to its pre-pandemic levels, especially in areas that serve low-income communities. As Metro purchases more properties for its stations, Solis said it plans to ensure the agency builds new affordable housing and supports small businesses.

“Metro has always done more than move residents to and from their destinations,” Solis said. “I am committed to collaborating with local and community actors, residents and businesses to develop projects that serve everyone and in particular the most vulnerable. ”

Metro will also soon have its first Youth Council to receive feedback from young people on the future of public transit, Wiggins said.

She has ambitious plans for the place of public transport in California.

“I want to make Metro the first choice of transportation that people think of,” Wiggins said. “I want the Angelenos to come out of their house to take their keys and their coffee in one hand and their cell phone and card in the other.” ”

Wiggins highlighted two recently implemented transit programs: the NextGen bus network, focused on faster and more accessible bus services, and Metro Micro, the agency’s ridesharing service. She also highlighted plans to increase equity within the agency, including a gender action plan and community partnership strategy from the agency’s Office of Equity and Race.

Back To Top