Fare Model Update in Los Angeles

Analyzing the effects of fare changes on ridership

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) | Los Angeles, CA, USA | 2015-2016

Supported critical fare program restructure impacting an average of 22 million monthly riders

Delivered data-driven insights and strategies to improve services and overall ridership experience

Explored equitable and cost-effective strategies to maximize customer convenience

Fully electric G-line bus fleet


  • Operational since 1993, LACMTA set out to update its fare policies in 2015 to improve the overall transit experience and better serve low-income and disadvantaged customers.
  • Despite a variety of bus, light rail, heavy rail, and bus rapid transit services in the greater Los Angeles area, LACMTA needed to reassess its fare policies and operations to address declining ridership and concerns over service accessibility and affordability.


  • Explored business-based universal pass programs (EcoPass) and low-income fare programs from peer agencies to inform potential changes to existing fare policy.
  • Analyzed recent changes in ridership, transit fares, gas prices, and regional employment while conducting a stakeholder and ridership survey to estimate impact of fare changes on transit ridership, revenue, and cost recovery.
  • Delivered extensive analysis and insights from a 2014 fare change, which we had previously assisted in designing, and updated a LACMTA-specific Fare Insight model including analysis of Title VI and environmental justice compliance issues.


  • Leveraged new strategies to increase off-peak ridership and maximize customer convenience, including implementation of two-hour transfers.
  • Simplified existing fare structure and increased effectiveness of specialized fares for senior citizens, students, and low-income individuals as part of new conceptual options to better serve customers and address equity concerns.
  • Explored potential ridership and revenue impact from implementation of midday discounted rail fares in the central business district, informed by a detailed analysis of ridership data from LACMTA’s smart card program.

Project numbers

$118,738: Cost of project services
140 bus lines in system
2 subway lines
4 light rail lines
1 fully electric bus fleet (G Line)
105 miles of rail system (169 km)
1,433 miles of bus system (2,306 km)

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