Celebrate the start of baseball season with a subsidized bus ride from a place that’s never worth visiting (L.A.’s Union Station) to a place that is rarely worth visiting (Dodger Stadium).

Dodger Stadium Express was rolled out during the booming economy of 2010 with funding from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee.

A grant of $300,000 was made last year by the MSRC to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in support of clean-fuel transit to link Union Station to the stadium. The MSRC awards funding within the South Coast Air Basin from a portion of the vehicle registration fee set aside for mobile source projects that result in emission reductions.

“This is great news for the region and terrific news for Dodger fans,” said Ara Najarian, who was then chairman of Metro. “With the vast network of rail and buses serving Union Station, this just makes perfect sense to provide this link to encourage the use of public transit as an alternative to driving.”

The grant funding was used to offset the cost of fares for passengers possessing a Dodgers ticket.

Last year’s $300,000 investment allowed 122,000 Dodgers fans to get a ride to the stadium. That comes to $2.46 per ride. Regular bus fare in Los Angeles is $1.50.

After a success like that, it’s no wonder the Dodger Express has come back in 2011. In fact, the devastating and severe cuts necessary to close the state’s $25 billion deficit have made it that much more important that the grant be increased to $450,000:

“Following last year’s successful launch, Metro is pleased to offer fans the Dodger Stadium Express bus service, which provides a direct link to Dodger Stadium from a vast network of buses and trains coming into Union Station,” said county Supervisor and current Metro Chairman Don Knabe.

Since Gov. Jerry Brown introduced his austerity budget in January, it’s been fashionable to note that low-income people are hardest hit. In this case that may actually be true. The Dodger Express will be providing state-funded service to people who can afford an average price of $44.68 for a single-game ticket, $5 for a Dodger Dog and $6 to $8 for a beer.

Tim Cavanaugh is a columnist at Reason magazine and Reason.com.

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