I’ll never cease to be amazed at the absurd decisions that the Big Blue Bus management team continues to make. The latest, as found on their website, says that a “proposal that will help keep the base fare at $1 and reduce fraud is to discontinue sales of local transfers.” It’s bad enough that BBB started charging for local transfers, but discontinuing them is truly idiotic.

First, it means that somebody who makes a trip requiring a transfer will need to pay twice, whereas somebody making a much longer trip on a single bus will pay only once. For example, consider person A who boards Line 3 at Lincoln and Manchester boulevards, and travels the 60-plus stops from there to UCLA (more than 12 miles); and person B, who boards Line 3 at Lincoln and Rose Avenue, rides three stops to Ocean Park Boulevard, then rides Line 8 three stops to 14th Street. Person A travels more than 10 times the distance that person B does; but person B pays twice as much! This is fair?

Secondly, what sort of “fraud” plagues BBB because of local transfers? I can just envision it: Joe phones Bob and says “Hey, Bob, I’m about to ride from Lincoln and Pico boulevards to Fourth Street and Santa Monica, and I know you need to get from Fourth and Santa Monica to Santa Monica and Bundy. So how about if I pay 50 cents for a transfer that I don’t actually need, then we can rendezvous and I’ll sell it to you for 75 cents, and that way we’ll each save 25 cents?”

Do people at BBB headquarters really believe that this sort of thing goes on? If so, I’m astounded. But if they mean something else by “fraud,” which is enabled by selling transfers, perhaps t1hey could explain what they mean.

Here’s a suggestion: To help keep the fare at a dollar, how about requiring that UCLA students (who get a reduced fare) and SMC students (who ride for free!) pay full fare? The amount that SMC pays the city in return for unlimited free rides for its students is only a tiny fraction of what BBB would collect if those students paid what the rest of us pay. What’s the sense of that?


Audrey Shauer

Santa Monica

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