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Fee ride: Possible end of the line for LA subway honor system

Metro ticket machines at the Hollywood/Highland station in Los Angeles, CA.
Metro ticket machines at the Hollywood/Highland station in Los Angeles, CA.
Photo by Frederick Dennstedt via Flickr Creative Commons

A meeting on Thursday may determine the future of the L.A. subway honor system.

Rogue rail-riders may be forced to pay after more than two decades of what has essentially been an "honor system" for regional train travel.

The board of Los Angeles County's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expected to vote Thursday on whether or not to start locking gates at its stations.

If approved, the lockdown would begin in July at select stations. Passengers would be required to tap a pass or a ticket with a microchip in order to gain access.

The roving, at-random ticket checking system that's currently in place has cost the authority approximately $7 million a year, according to official estimates. 

Experiments in gate-locking were tested at 10 stations last year. Ticket purchases reportedly rose by 68 percent.

If having your honor challenged gets you red in the face, just wait for the rainbow of colorful expressions that are sure to shine through when the Metro vs. Beverly Hills debate over the Purple Line also crashes into today's heavily attended meeting.

UPDATED: The vote on ending the honor system has been postponed until May, said Metro spokesman Marc Littman. Additional details regarding the implementation of a new system will be discussed at a future meeting. 


Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner