Free Transit on Election Day

A new motion eliminates a leading barrier to voter participation, by providing all riders with free Election Day rides on Metro.

The authors — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl, and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia — put the proposal forward at the Metro Executive Management Committee meeting, directing the transit agency to lift fares for all riders on Nov. 6, 2018.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 2016 Survey of the Performance of American Elections (SPAE) found that 51% of California voters cited a lack of transportation as a factor for not voting. Other studies have shown that lack of access to transportation to get to polls disproportionately affects minority voters, people with low incomes, persons with disabilities, and young people; these populations are also the ones most reliant on Metro for mobility.

“On Election Day, our priority must be making sure voters in all corners of the county are undeterred from getting to the ballot box and exercising their right to vote,” said Supervisor and Metro Director Ridley-Thomas. “Free rides are a great way to help make that happen.”

“A lack of transportation should never stand between a voter and the polls,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Every vote counts in this democracy, and we have to do everything we can to help Americans exercise our most fundamental right.”

“Voting is one of the most important acts of civic engagement,” said Metro Chair and Supervisor Kuehl, “And Metro wants to make sure our County voters get the message: ‘Please vote! We want to make it easy for you.’”

“Unfortunately, transportation is an obstacle many voters face when trying to get to their polling place,” said Mayor Garcia. “I’m glad that free transit will be offered as a resource to ensure every voter has a way to get to their polling place and cast their vote.”

The motion will go to the Metro Board of Directors for approval at its regular meeting on October 25.