Oscar Zarate (@outta_papeles) schools us on unincorporated Los Angeles, the L.A. County Tenants’ Bill of Rights, fareless transit, and more. Oscar’s citations include an analysis showing that fareless transit could reduce over 60 billion in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in L.A. County, as well as this study showing fareless transit’s effect on Metro bus and subway ridership during the pandemic. To get involved in the campaign for free public transit in L.A., visit http://bit.ly/farefree.

*There are also not 90 unincorporated communities in L.A. County, but at least 124, according to this data.*



  1. A fare-free public transit system would be ideal. I arrived in LA two years ago, during the pandemic, and I was pleasantly surprised that they let you on the bus for free. When they brought the fares back, I thought it was a bad idea.

    How many people stopped taking the bus just because they hate dealing with payments?

    I advocate for a fare-free public system.

    But, in addition, we need a PAID-fare Private system, implemented through a Private-Public Partnership. For middle-class people – those who traditionally own, or rent, homes, and drive cars – its a big ask to switch to public transit, and subsequently experience commutes 2-3 times longer than driving, and have to deal with the stress, trauma, and safety-concerns of riding public transportation, daily.

    The average 30 minute vehicle commute costs $10, if you consider the cost of a lease, insurance, maintenance/repairs, and gas. If you took the public system, currently, for the same commute, it would take 60-90 minutes, and cost $1.75. Even though that is a large price difference, to many people, that extra hour of commute time isn’t worth a savings of $8.

    BUT, if you had a Private mass transit option that matched the 30 minute commute, and only cost $5, I believe many people would make the switch. Time IS money. And, for people that are making decent money, their time is more valuable. For people that have less money, they may have more time (theoretically), and they may be more tolerant of a longer commute. But really, many people who take public transit are not doing it to save money. More likely, they don’t know how to drive, they are unable to drive, or they are barred from driving. This is what public transportation is for (serving the public that can’t drive) — it’s not a realistic alternative for people that already make their commute driving. Even if the public system were free, many people would not switch because its not as convenient as driving, even if they save $500 a month by ditching their car.

    In summary: yes, fare-free, public mass transit. And, yes, paid-fare, private mass transit.

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