Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials agreed on Thursday to offer free fares on the bus and train system on Election Day to combat the county’s historically low voter turnout, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to the local paper, the transit agency’s board of directors voted unanimously to approve an effort to eliminate fares for rides on the Metro’s six rail lines and over 2,000 buses from 12:01 am – 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 6.
“We know there are so many impediments to folks voting,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who introduced the proposal, said at a Thursday meeting, according to the Times. “We know how critical voting is, and what an important election we have that’s coming up.”
Garcetti, a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, said the move to eliminate fares for a day could cause “a little bit of a financial hit” for the county, but said he thinks “it’s well worth it for our democracy.”
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Metro spokesman Rick Jager also reportedly added the plan won’t eliminate the transit agency’s entire fare income on Election Day because some riders buy unlimited monthly passes.
The Times also pointed out that the transit system is heavily subsidized, as nearly 80 percent of its operating costs are covered by taxes.
The policy comes after as other cities, like Dodge City, Kan., have moved to adopt similar measures for Election Day to help increase voter turnout.