As in all roundups depending upon statistics collectors, we managed in Sunday's summary of transit fares nationally to get caught in a time warp. The lowest basic national big-city fare accurately quoted from the latest statistics by the American Public Transit Association, 50 cents in Los Angeles, rose to 85 cents on July 2, according to readers E.L. Tennyson and Robert L. Abrams.
According to a Los Angeles Times account enclosed by Abrams, the five-county transit district was forced by a referendum to switch its operating subsidy to a fund to support new projects.
Tennyson, of Vienna, a former Philadelphia transit official, makes a further point, with which this column agrees: Philadelphia's new $1 basic in-city transit fare plus a 20-cent transfer charge in both directions -- $2.40 for a round trip -- at all times of the day, including rush hours, is close to the $2.35 off-peak minimum that an in-city Washingtonian must pay for a comparable but probably shorter trip, given Metro's limited-transfer policy.
Metro's rush-hour premium charge, we'd note, pushes the comparable fare for many Washingtonians above the fares charged in Philadelphia.
But the main point remains: For a trip in Washington, you can pay as little as 75 cents on a bus and 80 cents on a subway; in Philadelphia, it costs $1.