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Go Metro to Avoid High Price of Gasoline

Wednesday February 25, 2004

Go Metro to Avoid High Price of Gasoline Metro is a more cost-effective alternative as gasoline prices spike to more than $2 per gallon Is filling your gas tank draining your pocketbook?

As the prices for regular unleaded gasoline spiked above $2 per gallon, Metro Bus and Rail and Metro rideshare options are an even more attractive solution for anyone seeking to avoid paying rising fuel costs. According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, gasoline prices in Southern California have climbed for seven consecutive weeks. Gasoline prices are expected to remain at the $2 per gallon level or move higher for the rest of the year as oil refineries move to retool their fuel-making operations and the wholesale oil market remains tight. Why not “Go Metro” instead? L.A. County’s expansive Metro transportation system gives daily commuters the option to rethink how they get around L.A. using Metro’s 74 miles of rail lines and 180 bus lines. Services connect people from Pasadena, Long Beach, El Segundo, Norwalk, the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood and downtown L.A. and points in between. A one-way cash fare for Metro is just $1.25. Weekly and monthly fares are $14 and $52, respectively. Transit riders can easily navigate the Metro system for $3 a day using the Metro Day Pass. Unveiled January 1, the pass gives riders carte blanche access to Metro’s 2,400 buses and Metro Red, Green, Blue and Gold Lines from the time of purchase until 2 a.m. the next day. Riders now have the flexibility to jump on and off the system as their needs require without having to buy transfers. In comparison, the same $3 now buys only 1.5 gallons of gasoline. A vehicle that gets 19 miles per gallon can only travel 28.5 miles for the same cost. “There is no better time to start thinking about lower-cost transportation alternatives,” said Roger Snoble, CEO, Metro. “Those who choose to take public transit or to share a ride can, over time, save substantial sums of money in fuel and vehicle operation and maintenance costs. It’s the best way to combat the high fuel prices we’re experiencing today.” Metro supports many programs and incentives for working commuters to use public transit and to explore other rideshare options such as carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, and telecommuting. A variety of Metro Pass options are available to employers whose employees are interested in taking public transit. Both employers and employees may take advantage of federal tax incentives under this program. Metro’s carpool and vanpool programs provide tools, information and marketing support for arranging company ridesharing. Prospective ridesharers can access a regionwide ridematching and park and ride database sponsored by Metro and other county transportation agencies. Available at www.ridematch.info, the site provides match lists, maps and other resources needed to initiate rideshare relationships. There are about 190,000 participants in the database who are either ridesharing or interested in finding rideshare partners. Metro has a similar program for public, private and charter schools and school districts. Called “Metro School Pool,” the program provides an database of families interested in forming or joining a carpool at specific elementary and secondary school campuses within L.A. County. Metro also encourages bicycling for short distance commuting and connecting with Metro Bus and Rail stations. Bicycles can be brought onboard trains with some restrictions, and many Metro Buses are equipped with bike racks. No bike permits are required on buses or trains. Metro promotes a Guaranteed Ride Home Program that gives employees who normally take public transit or rideshare to and from work the opportunity to get home in case of emergency or unexpected overtime. The program pays for a guaranteed taxi ride to eligible employees free of charge. Telecommuting is another strategy available to employers to meet trip reduction requirements, decrease absenteeism and reduce overhead expenses. Metro provides employers with telecommuting resources and offers a list of consultants specializing in these types of programs. Metro rideshare incentives range from $5 gift cards from a famous coffee house to other cash incentives up to $120 (certain restrictions apply). Personal assistance with ridesharing strategies is available via Metro’s telephone support line at 1-800-COMMUTE, option #3. For additional information on these and other Metro programs and incentives, please visit www.metro.net. MTA-036 Pressroom | www.metro.net


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