Free MTA trips for Los Angeles students

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a new policy today that would allow students in Los Angeles County to ride MTA transit for free during the day.

“Schools throughout Los Angeles County are struggling with severe budget challenges, and cutting field trip transportation means less opportunity for students to take advantage of museums, programs, and events outside of school buildings,” Mayor Villaraigosa said, as quoted in a press release. “This is especially true for low income students whose families do not have the resources for alternative transportation.”

According to a press release from the Mayor’s office, the MTA “will not suffer an increase in operating costs because service is already running.” No revenue would be lost because “students would not otherwise be riding transit during school hours without this policy.”

Funding transportation for school field trips has been a constant impediment, say some L.A. teachers, especially during budget cuts.

“Our students are missing out on educational experiences because we have no funds to bus them on field trips. Access to Metro rail and buses will open a world of opportunities for learning beyond the classroom,” said Santee teacher Trebor Jacquez, as quoted in the press release.

According to Villaraigosa, MTA buses and trains have unused capacity during school hours, making free transit for students a “win-win” policy for the MTA.

The proposal will be put to the MTA Board at its meeting on Dec. 9, with plans to implement the system by the end of January 2011.


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