So far I've only taken one bus but I didn't see any fareboxes or places to tap the Tap card. I asked the driver if I need to tap the card but I only got the hand gesture which I interpreted as "move to the back of the bus". People are just boarding the bus through rear doors and taking seats. But I didn't find anything about fare free rides on the metro website. So are the rides actually free?

  • Which bus did you take?
    – jcaron
    Aug 7 '21 at 20:52
  • @jcaron 204 ... comments must be 15 characters in length
    – user77409
    Aug 7 '21 at 21:00

Rear door boarding on LA MTA buses was initiated in March 2020 in an effort to reduce contact between drivers and riders amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and remains in effect as of August 2021.

LA Metro has not technically waived fares; officially, the policy is

While you are not expected to use the fare box or TAP validator at the front of the bus, please be in possession of fare during travel.

Fare enforcement is suspended, however, so for all practical purposes, bus rides are currently free.

As with a number of other U.S. public transit agencies, fare-free rides may be permanently instituted for low-income riders after the pandemic; a pilot program is underway in Los Angeles County.


As Doc notes in a comment, this answer applies only to buses operated by the MTA. Other agencies like BCT, Big Blue Bus, Foothill Transit, or OCTA will have their own policies.

  • Good answer. A side question, what is considered "low-income" in the US? Aug 8 '21 at 14:57
  • Note that while this answer is correct for LA Metro buses (which is what was asked), other bus companies in LA are charging fares. eg, BBB started enforcing fare payment on August 1, and cash is no longer accepted.
    – Doc
    Aug 8 '21 at 16:50
  • 1
    @NeanDerThal There are unfortunately no universal standards for such things; each program run by each agency of each government has its own requirements. The MTA program is tiered by household size; single person with an annual income of $41,400 or less would qualify, $59,100 for a family of four.
    – choster
    Aug 9 '21 at 2:38
  • Front door boarding resumed on June 27, according to this: thesource.metro.net/2021/07/19/… Also, LADOT buses are free too now, based on my experience.
    – user77409
    Aug 13 '21 at 15:35

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