Metrolink will lower fares for short-distance trips Jan. 1

Metrolink train arrives at Union Station

Incoming Metrolink passengers exit their train at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Starting New Year’s Day, the Metrolink commuter railroad will dramatically lower one-way fares for short-distance trips to as little as $3 for most riders and $1.50 for seniors and people with disabilities.

Metrolink officials said Tuesday the new $3 one-way fares are for travel between a station and the next one on the line--a substantial reduction from the current average fare of $5.50 for the same trip.

“The station-to-station fare is designed to increase ridership by encouraging local trips using Metrolink as an additional transportation option,” said Art Leahy, the railroad’s chief executive.

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Struggling with declining riders and revenue, Metrolink has been experimenting since July with various fare discounts systemwide and lower ticket prices on the Antelope Valley Line, which runs between Los Angeles and Lancaster.

The fare reduction on Jan. 1 means that a trip from Cal State L.A., to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles will cost an adult, student or youth $3 one-way and $6 for a round trip.

Going two stops from El Monte Station to Union Station will cost $6 for an adult one-way ticket and $12 for a roundtrip. If travel is beyond two stops, the new discounted fare won’t apply.

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Metrolink’s board of directors decided to reduce the station-to-station fares in October. They also approved a permanent 25% reduction in ticket prices for students and youths systemwide and an extension of a 25% discount for all fares on the Antelope Valley Line except for weekend day passes.

The railroad, which has 536 miles of track and averages about 42,700 boardings each weekday, serves Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties.

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