Santa Monica-Malibu Unified Cuts Nearly 100 Early Education Jobs

What would regional public transit and mobility look like if Los Angeles County’s buses and trains were free for everyone? The L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is trying to answer that question.

Metro CEO Phillip Washington launched a task force today to study what he has dubbed the “Fareless System Initiative, or Operation FSI.” And he wants to move fast.

Last week, Washington told Metro’s board of directors he hopes the system could go fare-free as soon as “the beginning of the new year.”

During his virtual presentation, he cited the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color and low-income residents as one reason to pursue free transit, which he compared to public services such as firefighting and policing:

“In many cases, people are having to choose between paying rent, paying utilities or utilizing transit. We believe that achieving [a] fare-free public transit system — for

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