Tell the Metro Board to Vote YES on Fareless Transit THURSDAY!

We are so close to winning the Fareless System Initiative pilot program to provide student transit passes for all K-12 and community college students in LA County—any line, any time, bus and rail, Metro and municipal operators—that we can't slow down now!

But next we must work toward ensuring a fareless system for all low-income residents as well, and then . . . a fareless system for all! 

The Metro Board votes THIS THURSDAY whether to move forward with the Fareless System Initiative pilot, which will cost only $3 per K-12 student and $7 per community college student per year! The board meeting starts at 10 a.m. and the Fareless System Initiative is third on the agenda. You can:

  • Make a live public comment—1 minute is the max—by telephone. Dial: 888-251-2949 and enter English Access Code: 8231160# or Spanish Access Code: 4544724#. To give public comment enter #2 when prompted. (The live video feed lags about 30 seconds behind the actual meeting, but there is no lag on the public comment dial-in line.) You may want to bring a textbook in case the first two items—on the I-710 freeway widening project—delay discussion of the Fareless System Initiative.
  • Or email your comments to the [email protected] Written public comments must be received by 5PM the day before the meeting. Please include both Item #35 and your position—“FOR,” “AGAINST,” "GENERAL COMMENT," or "ITEM NEEDS MORE CONSIDERATION"—in your comment.
  • Or you can send your comments by USPS but they should go in the mail today as they need to reach Metro by 5 p.m. tomorrow. Mail to: Board Administration, One Gateway Plaza, MS: 99-3-1, Los Angeles, CA 90012

But will this ever become a Fareless System Initiative for all riders, as former Metro CEO Phil Washington proposed? Will Phase 2, to provide fareless transit for all low-income riders, which was to have begun on Jan. 1, be enacted any time soon? Read more on Streetsblog LA's  informative post here, and there's more info on the Phase 1 pilot on our website here.

We intend to work with Metro, the California Legislature and the federal government to help Metro find the resources the agency will need to fund the entire program and become completely fareless. It's important to remember that the very real hurdle is that replacement funding for fares must be found to continue to operate Metro's bus and rail system—but the upside is profound.

Some advocates are critical of the scaled-back version of Metro's FSI—especially since fares have been free for everyone since the COVID pandemic took hold. But this is the beginning of a program that we have been advocating for over the past decade, and it can only help reduce traffic, GHG emissions and smog, enable LA County's workforce and students get around more easily, and make streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians!


METRO WANTS TO EXPAND LA'S BUS-ONLY NETWORK

It’s a really good idea to create more bus-only lanes along heavily traveled corridors in Los Angeles: Bus speeds in LA County have declined for more than a decade, while complaints about the reliability of bus arrival times have increased and ridership has continued to decline (25% in the last decade).

Metro has been working with the City of Los Angeles to implement bus-only lanes in downtown LA on 5th and 6th, on a quarter-mile segment of Aliso from Spring to Alameda, and on Flower (as part of the rehab project for the A Line in 2019)—with resounding success. The 2019 pilot on Flower—which came to halt with the arrival of COVID but will soon reopen—increased travel speeds by up to 30% and ridership by 32%. And the impact on car traffic was negligible, with speeds slowing just 2 mph on a 35 mph street.

Another bus-only lane opened on Alvarado this summer from 7th Street up to the 101 freeway (the segment north to Sunset Boulevard will be installed later this fall)—with a bus traveling south to DTLA in the curb lane during the morning rush hour (7-10 a.m.) and north in the curb lane in evening (3-7 p.m.). This line is expected to speed up bus service by at least 15%, with a bus arriving every 7-8 minutes.

The importance of bus-only lanes is clear when one looks at the equity benefits of, for example, the Alvarado line:

  • 94% of bus riders on Alvarado do not own or have access to a car and rely on bus service
  • 77% of riders take the bus at least 5 times a week
  • 63% of riders live below the poverty line
  • 63% have been riding transit for 5 or more years
  • 96% are people of color
  • 67% are local residents.

Moreover bus-only lanes may help LADOT reach its Vision Zero commitment to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025 (nearly half of those killed were walking or biking). Bus priority lanes have been shown to improve overall safety by reducing accidents caused by aggressive lane weaving, excessive speeding and failure to yield, and because they separate buses from car traffic.

Read more

Our Letter to CARB Re: The Scoping Plan

Sept 3. 2021

Liane Randolph, Chair

California Air Resources Board

RE:  Recommendations re 2022 Scoping Plan

Dear Chairperson Randolph:

Move LA urges CARB staff to prepare an alternative emission reduction scenario for the Scoping Plan which enhances the program’s ambition beyond SB 32 (as suggested in Option A on p. 14 of the CARB staff presentation). New targets in such an alternative should be at least as ambitious as those provided in the recently released IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021.

It is vital that the next Scoping Plan reflects the sense of urgency that permeates the IPCC Report. Making maximum emission reductions over this next decade are likely crucial to avoid the most damaging impacts of climate change, including the possible loss of many lives.   

While emission reductions must be pursued aggressively across all source categories, meeting more ambitious targets will require making significantly enhanced investments in the deployment of clean transportation technologies and reductions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), especially methane. 

We believe a successful effort in this next decade will require seeking significantly enhanced resources, well beyond those provided by current programs. These resources can come from the Legislature and Governor—or better, from California voters as soon as November 2022. 

We say “better” because a voter-approved funding measure, compared to the legislative budget process, can provide significantly enhanced resources, continued over a prescribed duration with greater reliability and continuity of purpose. This may well be necessary to give manufacturers the confidence they need that, if they ramp up production of advanced technologies in the near term, their risks are much more likely to be rewarded. 

Why should we consider such an alternative?

Read more

What's Become of Metro's Fareless System Initiative?

Move LA has been tracking Metro's Fareless System Initiative closely, and we are happy to report that a pilot has been officially launched with 17,000 K-12 students in six LA County school districts. Metro is planning to expand the program if approved at the September board meeting. 

Metro's latest report on the FSI program is here, and we will update this post when we know more. According to a memo from August, the pilot involves close to a third of the 1.4 million public K-12 students in LA County—and LAUSD has made a verbal commitment to join the program. In addition, Metro has received interest from dozens of other K-12 districts representing more than 1,139 schools and 695,610 students.

While the families of K-12 students are not charged a fee, participating school districts must contribute $3/student/year, and municipal transit agencies interested in joining the program must cover the remaining cost—for a total cost for all partners, including Metro, of about $50 million over 2 years. This allows K-12 students to ride any Metro bus or rail line, or any participating municipal bus services, without paying a fare at the point of entry, if their school district participates in the program.

This program is very similar to the “Any Line, Any Time” program that Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane helped pilot at Santa Monica College about a decade ago, which has been so successful that we’ve been working to expand it ever since. Now it appears we’ve succeeded—with the help of all the parties mentioned above, as well as the students!

But what about community college students? The community college program will launch if the Metro Board approves it at the September meeting, and because community college students ride more frequently than K-12 students they will be charged more—but just $7 per student per year.

Read more

Metro’s Fareless System Initiative for Students Launches in a BIG Way

Metro has officially launched a pilot for its Fareless System Initiative with 17,000 K-12 students in six LA County school districts, and is planning to expand the program with the approval of the Metro Board at its September meeting. As we follow Metro’s efforts to scale up this important program—with multiple benefits not just for student riders but for everyone who wants to see reductions in GHGs and VMT—we've been thinking back to the time we began advocating for a student transit pass program at least a decade ago.

That was when Executive Director Denny Zane started working with Santa Monica College to create an “Any Line, Any Time” student transit pass program in partnership with the Big Blue Bus. Student interest in taking transit—paid for in part by their student fees—grew quickly and the program became a key marketing tool for recruiting new students to enroll.

In 2015 we started working with Metro on a student pass program with the encouragement of LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, then Metro Board Chair, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. We also began lobbying the Legislature for funding for a statewide student transit pass program, working with Assemblymember Chris Holden.

In 2016 Move LA hosted a Student Transit Pass Summit to mobilize students to support funding for discounted transit passes in Measure M—with the result that 2% of Measure M funds are now being used to reduce the cost of student passes. Metro launched its U-Pass Program that same year, while we kept working to win funding from the Legislature, Asm. Holden's bill made it to Governor Jerry Brown's desk . . . and was vetoed. But success was on the horizon—so read on!

Read more

Hydrogen will play an important role in the zero-emission revolution

There is a consensus that deep cuts in CO2  will require a lot of zero-emission transportation, and that hydrogen will play an important role—especially in California where we have set ambitious goals to phase out fossil fuel vehicles.

Meeting those goals is likely to require that we move quickly to develop both battery electric as well as hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles, and while the focus in the near term has been on batteries there is growing interest in California—but also in the U.S. and abroad— in hydrogen as another very important source of clean energy.

Our Zoom #4 call is about the possibility of a hydrogen revolution, the opportunities and the challenges, and we'll be talking with:

  • Chanell FletcherDeputy Executive Director of Environmental Justice, California Air Resources Board
  • Cliff GladsteinPresident, Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA)
  • Brian Goldstein, Executive Director, Energy Independence Now
  • Eric HoffmanPresident, Utility Workers Union of America, Local 132 
  • Madadh MacLaine, Founder and Secretary General of Zero Emissions Maritime Technology Association
  • Assemblymember Bill Quirk, California State Assembly, former climate change scientist at NASA
  • Dr. Sunita Satyapal, Director, Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, U.S. Department of Energy 
  • Michelle Sim, Director of Sustainability, Southern California Gas

Join us this Friday from 10 a.m. to noon to talk about the interest in hydrogen as another zero-emission fuel source for vehicles and possibly other applications. REGISTER HERE.

While hydrogen is abundant it’s almost always found in a compound such as water (H2O) or methane (CH4), and needs to be separated into pure hydrogen to be used in fuel cell electric vehicles.

Today most hydrogen is produced from natural gas through a process called steam reformation. But the need for a clean fuel that can deliver energy with a significant range, faster fueling, and that isn’t heavy—as electric batteries are—especially for heavy-duty vehicles that travel long distances has increased interest in producing hydrogen from renewable natural gas, biomass or electrolysis.

Electrolysis is a process that uses an electric current to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. If the electric current is produced by renewable sources such as solar or wind the resulting hydrogen can become a truly clean fuel that, when used in a fuel cell, produces only water.

That also makes it a truly clean energy carrier that can be used to store, move and deliver energy, not just for transportation but for a broad range of applications across all sectors including power plants.

The California Air Resources Board’s most recent Advanced Clean Trucks Rule will encourage rapid deployment of hydrogen fuel cell powered heavy duty vehicles—which many observers believe is what hydrogen is best suited to do. It may also be able to power ships and planes.

While hydrogen is the most abundant substance in the universe, the use of hydrogen is “still in its infancy,” The New York Times noted recently, “and California is determined to be its cradle in the United States. . .”

We’d like California to remain at the forefront of birthing this revolution.

Join us to hear more about the possibilities of hydrogen as a new clean fuel source that together with electric batteries can get us to zero emissions before it's too late! REGISTER HERE.

Thanks to our sponsors for their generous support!


How long will it take to ramp up battery technology and manufacturing for all vehicles?

All-electric vehicles—typically powered by lithium-ion battery packs—are taking off. The market is booming, costs are declining, and jobs are being created. But how far will the market go? Can heavy-duty trucks also become electric?

Join us in a conversation about the opportunities, the challenges and the timing. We will be talking with:

  • Gideon Kracov, California Air Resources Board/South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board Member
  • Dean Taylor, President, Dean Taylor Consulting; former Southern California Edison Senior Scientist
  • Niki Okuk, Alternative Fuels Program Manager, CALSTART
  • Jack Symington, Program Manager for Transportation, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)
  • Lisa Arellanes, Senior Manager, Business Development & Partnerships, eMobility, Southern California Edison
  • Joe Sullivan, Director of Energy Solutions, IBEW-NECA

Join us THURSDAY, July 8, 10 a.m. to noon, for the 3rd Zoom call in our Climate and Clean Air Series. REGISTER HERE.

There were more than 10 million electric cars on the world’s roads in 2020 with battery electric models driving the expansion. Experts believe zero-emission cars, SUVs and trucks will soon dominate the light-duty vehicle market.

But most air pollution and a large share of greenhouse gases are emitted by diesel-powered trucks as well as off-road vehicles and equipment, including trains, ships, aircraft, and port and construction equipment.

Can these vehicles also be powered by electric batteries? 

Right now there's minimal charging infrastructure in place to support heavy-duty battery-electric long-haul trucks and off-road vehicles. How quickly can charging infrastructure be put into place? And how many jobs can manufacturing and operating these new technologies create?

And then there is the big question: If we had a boatload of money to invest—like a ballot measure might provide—could vehicle manufacturers significantly ramp up production of battery-electric trucks, especially long-haul trucks? And can we get these zero-emission trucks to market in time to meet the target set by the IPCC's 2018 Special Report on Global Warming to avoid a 1.5°C increase above pre-industrial levels?

The deadline is 2030—less than a decade away!

Join us to talk about whether there is a battery revolution in the making—and the opportunities, challenges and timing—on Zoom #3 in our Climate and Clean Air Series. Register HERE.

This program is generously sponsored by:


California's Decade of Diesel Decision

Engines operating on diesel or other pernicious fuels are the power source for so much commercial transportation—trucks, buses, trains, ships, off-road equipment (at the ports, on construction sites, as excavation machinery, etc.)—and they burn most of the world’s petroleum.

Diesel exhaust contains high amounts of NOx emissions that produce ozone, particulate matter, hydrocarbons and multiple carcinogenic air toxins. Diesel engines also produce major climate forcers like CO2 and super pollutants including black carbon and ozone, while also contributing to acid rain.

What could be worse? Maybe coal plant emissions, but nothing else. 

Diesel emissions have an outsized impact on public health, air quality and climate change. These emissions cause asthma and lung cancer, damage crops, trees and other vegetation, and contribute to acid rain that taints the soil, lakes and streets, and enters the human food chain.

But how do we keep the economy running without diesel? Will battery-electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles become available in sufficient numbers and soon enough—and perform well enough? And will their charging and fueling infrastructure proliferate fast enough to keep the goods movement system running across the U.S. 24/7 like diesel engines do now?

And what if the answer is "It's not likely"?

Join us for Zoom #2—for a discussion about the time line for cleaning up trucks, trains, ships, planes and diesel—in our Climate and Clean Air series on Thursday, July 1, 10am-12pm. REGISTER HERE.

Our panelists include:

  • Marc Carrel, President/CEO, Breathe SoCal
  • Chris Chavez, Deputy Policy Director, Coalition for Clean Air
  • Marisa Garcia, Administrative Manager, Move LA
  • Matt Miyasato, Deputy Executive Officer, Science and Technology Advancement, South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD)
  • Marven Norman, Policy Coordinator, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ)
  • Madeline Rose, Climate Campaign Director, Pacific Environment
  • Kevin Walkowicz, Senior Director, Truck and Off-Road Initiative, Calstart

As a result of state and federal regulations the diesel engines manufactured today are cleaner than ever before, but because they can operate for 30 years or more they remain in use for decades, and are typically bought by other countries with less strict rules about emissions—or no rules at all.

As the LA Times pointed out last year the California rules “are part of a multiyear push to clean up freight-moving industries that are both a lifeblood of California’s economy and its dominant source of harmful pollution. Diesel trucks emit nearly one-third of smog-forming nitrogen oxides and more than one-quarter of diesel particulate matter in the state. Oceangoing ships are projected to surpass trucks to become Southern California’s largest source of nitrogen oxides by 2023.”

What is the best and most effective path forward? Come and hear the experts talk about it.

Join us for Zoom #2—for a discussion about the time line for cleaning up trucks, trains, ships, planes and diesel—in our Climate and Clean Air series on Thursday, July 1, 10am-12pm. REGISTER HERE.


How bad are diesel emissions? Worse than you thought . . .

Diesel-powered trucks, trains, ships and planes create a toxic air hazard and a huge climate challenge. Solutions are emerging. But how can we help accelerate their adoption?

On Zoom #2 in our 5-part series on Meeting California's Climate Challenge we will be seeking expert advice about what we can do to address the health and climate hazards posed by emissions from trucks, trains, ships, planes, and off-road equipment—all of which are typically powered by diesel or another environmentally pernicious fuel.

We'll be talking with:

  • Marc Carrel, President/CEO, Breathe SoCal
  • Chris Chavez, Deputy Policy Director, Coalition for Clean Air
  • Marisa Garcia, Administrative Manager, Move LA
  • Matt Miyasato, Deputy Executive Officer, Science and Technology Advancement, South Coast Air Quality Management District
  • Marven Norman, Policy Coordinator, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice
  • Madeline Rose, Climate Campaign Director, Pacific Environment
  • Kevin Walkowicz, Senior Director, Truck and Off-Road Initiative, Calstart

Join us for Zoom #2—on the role of trucks, trains, ships, planes and diesel—in our Climate and Clean Air series on Thursday, July 1, 10am-12pm. REGISTER HERE.

Most people know that diesel is a major source of air pollution, as are other fuels that power marine vessels and aircraft. But most people do not know just how serious a health risk these fuels pose, and who bears the greatest burden. 

We want them to know!

People also need to know and be reminded that diesel fuels are a major climate threat—not just a source of CO2, but also as a source of short-lived climate pollutants including black carbon and tropospheric ozone. These pollutants are even more powerful climate-forcers than CO2.

We think everybody should know!

Most people also have no idea that we are on the verge of huge breakthroughs for clean alternatives.

We want them to know, and to tell them about the things that we can do together to help accelerate their adoption!

Join us for Zoom #2—on the role of trucks, trains, ships, planes and diesel—in our Climate and Clean Air series on Thursday, July 1, 10am-12pm. REGISTER HERE.


Join us to understand why reducing short-lived climate pollutants is so important!

We look forward to our first Zoom call on short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) with this impressive line-up of climate and clean air experts, who will help answer several key questions:

  • In the battle with climate change is it as important to reduce SLCP emissions as it is to reduce CO2 emissions?
  • Why aren’t more people talking about SLCPs (also called super pollutants)?
  • If we are able to pass a statewide ballot measure that would provide about $3 billion a year to roll back climate change— including $1 billion a year to reduce SLCPs alone—what should that $1 billion be spent on and why?

We are eager to hear the responses from our knowledgeable panelists (in alphabetical order) below.

Join us for Zoom #1—Reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants—the first in a 5-part series on rolling back climate change June 24, 10am-12pm. REGISTER HERE!

Jason Anderson, Director of Governance, Diplomacy and Super Pollutants at ClimateWorks
ClimateWorks believes we must curb super pollutants alongside carbon dioxide because SLCPs can be thousands of times more damaging to the climate than CO2, and cutting them will yield seven times the global warming reduction by 2050 compared to cutting CO2 alone. ClimateWorks also believes that aggressively reducing these emissions supports a healthy climate while also providing significant public health, social, and economic benefits.

David Doniger, Senior Strategic Director of the Climate and Clean Energy Program, NRDC (Natural Resources and Defense Council)
David has been at the forefront of the battle against air pollution and global climate change since 1978, and helped formulate the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement designed to stop depleting the earth's ozone layer, and has made several essential amendments to the Clean Air Act, one of the first and most influential modern environmental laws in the U.S., and one of the most comprehensive air quality laws in the world.

Chanell Fletcher, Deputy Executive Officer of Environmental Justice, California Air Resources Board (CARB)
Chanell plays a key role in CARB programs addressing the disproportionate impacts of air pollution, climate change and associated chronic health conditions on communities of color. She oversees CARB’s Environmental Justice and Community Air Protection Program and develops CARB’s environmental justice policies with a focus on moving away from a top-down equity model to one centered on building trust at the community level.

Ryan McCarthy, Director of Climate and Clean Energy, Weideman Group
Ryan spent eight years in the administrations of Gov. Brown and Gov. Newsom as the Science and Technology Policy Advisor to the Chair of the California Air Resources Board. At CARB he developed many of the state's leading climate policies, including its 2030 and climate neutrality targets, short-lived climate pollutants strategy, and clean energy and transportation policies. He now leads a climate and clean energy practice in Sacramento.

Jerilyn Mendoza, Los Angeles Regional Organizer for the Climate Center
Jerilyn trained as a lawyer but has worked on environmental-related policy initiatives for two decades with environmental non-profit organizations, as an appointed government official on local, state and international levels, and with utilities—most recently at Southern California Edison. Jerilyn has been guided always by the words of Ellie Goodwin, who urged people to talk not just about global problems but about environmental abuses in their own backyards.

Dr. Ilissa Ocko, Senior Climate Scientist at EDF (the Environmental Defense Fund)
Ilissa has researched the most effective ways to limit warming in the near-term and long-term by reducing both short-lived and long-lived climate pollutants including carbon dioxide, methane and black carbon. A recent paper shows that a rapid, full-scale effort to reduce methane could slow worldwide warming by as much as 30%, highlighting the critical role of methane in any climate strategy, even as we decarbonize our energy systems.

Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Presidential Chair in Climate Sustainability at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and winner of the prestigious Blue Planet Prize
Dr. Ramanathan is often described as the “Pope’s climate scientist” because of his work with Pope Francis. He published his first study on super pollutants in 1975, and when it made the front page of The New York Times he thought the super pollutant problem was solved—but that was five decades ago. He’s done many SLCP studies since, including one concluding the planet will cross a major global warming threshold by 2030—with a 50% amplification of today’s temperatures.

Coby Skye, Assistant Deputy Director, LA Department of Public Works
Coby oversees the Environmental Programs Division at the Department of Public Works. He is a registered Civil Engineer, having received a B.S. degree from Polytechnic University and a Masters in Public Administration from Cal State Long Beach. Coby provides insight and direction for solid waste management policies and administers waste reduction and recycling programs and initiatives. He volunteers with various environmental organizations.

Join us to talk with these SLCP experts on Zoom #1—Reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants—the first in a 5-part Climate and Clean Air series on June 24, 10am-12pm. REGISTER HERE!



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