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Foothill Transit Proposing Fare Increase and Service Changes

Foothill Transit staff presenting proposed agency service and fare changes at last night’s meeting at Covina City Hall. Photo: Joe Linton, Streetsblog L.A.

Foothill Transit, one of L.A. County's largest municipal bus operators ("munis"), has proposed to restructure fares and retool ten of its 39 bus lines, including canceling lines 494, 481, 851, and 855. The agency is currently receiving input on the proposal via a series of community meetings which conclude on April 22. The upcoming meeting schedule appears below. If the Foothill Transit board approves the changes in May, they are expected to take effect October 2017.

Foothill Transit operates bus service throughout the San Fernando and Pomona Valleys. The agency has been recognized for its leadership in adopting fully electric buses well ahead of Metro. Foothill Transit also advertises at Streetsblog Los Angeles, sponsoring coverage of livability issues in the San Gabriel Valley.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune profile the proposed changes recently, the full details - including route maps - are available at the Foothill Transit website.

Fare Changes

While no increase is welcome, especially to low- or fixed-income riders, transit agencies must strike a balance between providing extensive/convenient frequent service and keeping pace with costs.

Foothill's cash fare would increases from $1.25 to $1.50, though TAP card users continue to pay $1.25. Chart via Foothill Transit
Foothill's cash fare would increases from $1.25 to $1.50, though TAP card users continue to pay $1.25. Chart via Foothill Transit

Foothill Transit is proposing an increase to the base cash fare from $1.25 to $1.50, rising to $1.75 in 2019. For the first two years, it acts more as an incentive to pay via a fare card, as riders who pay via TAP card would see no increase until 2019.

Foothill Transit is proposing eliminating transfers, but adding a day pass. Chart via Foothill Transit
Foothill Transit is proposing eliminating transfers, but adding a day pass. Chart via Foothill Transit

The main restructuring with passes is doing away with transfers and essentially replacing them with day passes, a product not currently offered. Transfers currently cost 50 cents. Starting in October, day passes would cost $5, rising to $6 in 2019.

In the recent past, several local transit agencies, including Metro and OCTA, made a similar switch from transfers to day passes. In 2014, as part of its most recent fare increase, Metro undid that change; Metro currently offers a free unlimited transfer. Transit expert Jarrett Walker makes the case that free transfers generally make transit more effective, though this needs to be balanced against agency costs.

Monthly pass prices would increase for students and seniors.

Service Changes

Since March 2016, San Gabriel Valley transit riders have had the option to ride the new extension of the Metro Gold Line. Relatively fast and frequent Gold Line service has drawn riders away from some bus lines. The current round of service changes are the first time that Foothill Transit has had to respond to these changing travel patterns.

Foothill is proposing to cancel several low ridership lines. Some longer lines will be split into two lines, generally in response to high or low ridership on a portion of the overall line.

Specifically here are the proposed changes: (see Foothill Transit website for full details including route maps)

    • Line 187 ( Montclair - Pasadena) would be split into two lines: 187 (Azusa - Pasadena) and 188 (Montclair - Azusa.)
    • Line 291 (South Pomona - La Verne) would be routed differently on the La Verne end to serve the LeRoy Hanes Education Center.
    • Line 292 (Claremont - Pomona) and 855 (Claremont) would be combined and reconfigured as a new Line 292 (Claremont-Pomona), with line 855 eliminated.
    • Line 480 (West Covina - Montclair) would be rerouted to better serve Mount San Antonio College. The new Line 480 eastern terminus would be at Eastlands Center in Covina.
    • Line 481 (El Monte - downtown L.A.) would be canceled due to low ridership. End-to-end trips on this line are currently served by the much more frequent Silver Streak express buses.
    • Line 493 (Diamond Bar - downtown L.A.) would be shortened, with the new eastern terminus at Montclair.
    • Line 494 (San Dimas - El Monte) would be canceled due to low ridership. The same areas will continue to be served by existing Lines 187, 284, and 492.
    • Line 690 (Montclair - Azusa) would see the west end of the route reconfigured to serve the Azusa Pacific University - Citrus College Gold Line Station.
    • Line 851 (West Covina - Glendora) would be canceled due to low ridership. The same areas will mostly be served by existing Lines 187, 284, and 492.
    • Line 855 (Claremont) would be combined with Line 292 - see above.

Give Input

Streetsblog attended yesterday's Foothill Transit hearing at Covina City Hall. A dozen attendees listened to a 20-minute staff presentation followed by extensive question and answer. Most commenters requested details on new routing. A couple of riders expressed frustration with routes that were being split, which would result in an existing single-seat trip necessitating a transfer costing both extra time and money.

Foothill Transit staff stressed that the proposal is still in flux and may be modified based on public comments. The public can give input at upcoming hearings, or via emailing changes [at] Comments are due by April 24.

Upcoming meetings:

    • Thursday, April 13, today 4 to 6 p.m., San Dimas City Hall (Stanley Plummer Community Building), 245 E. Bonita Avenue in San Dimas
    • Tuesday, April 18, 1 to 3 p.m., Pomona Library, 625 S. Garey Avenue in Pomona
    • Thursday, April 20, 1 to 3 p.m., El Monte City Hall East, 11333 Valley Boulevard in El Monte
    • Saturday, April 22, 9 a.m. (official public hearing), Foothill Transit offices, 100 S. Vincent Avenue in West Covina

Streetsblog L.A. San Gabriel Valley coverage is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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