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Angels Flight to Celebrate 109th Anniversary With Penny Fares

By David Markland
Published: Monday, December 20, 2010, at 11:34AM
Angels Flight 1956 Metro Library and Archive [Flickr]

1956 photo of Angels Flight at its original location at Third and Hill.

For those wondering whether or not Angels Flight would be raising its fares, there is finally answer: "Since we couldn't decide to change the fare, we chose to drop it to one cent," said John Welborne, president of the non-profit Angels Flight Railway Foundation.

The penny fare will only be this New Years Eve, however, to commemorate the 109th anniversary of the opening of Angels Flight on December 31st, 1901.

In addition to celebrating New Years Eve with a reduced fare, Jim Dawson, author of "Los Angeles's Angels Flight" will be available to sign copies of his book (and sell his last remaining copies).

Beginning Monday, December 27th, patrons will also be able to purchase a numbered, limited edition Mandarin orange ticket for one dollar. On December 31st, anyone who shows the commemorative ticket across the street at the Grand Central Market will receive a free Grand Central logo shopping bag (while supplies last).

Angels Flight will maintain its regular 16 hour schedule that day, from 6:45am to 10:00pm.

"In the meantime," Welborne says, "there has been no decision about possibly raising the fare." He says talks continue, "to find a way to close the $125,000 gap" between ticket sales and the operating budget.

A one way ride on the 298 feet of rail currently costs 25 cents, $1 for five rides, or 40 rides for $7.50.

Angels Flights' reliance on public support goes back to the day it opened on December 31, 1901. Reporting about the event, the Los Angeles Times wrote that there was a donation box at the top of the hill for anyone who wanted to "drop a wad." Colonel J.W. Eddy, the project's builder, told the crowd, "the slot is cut the exact size of a twenty dollar coin."

Welborne says that a new donation box will be installed at the top of Angels Flight in the next few days. He adds, "if anyone wants to drop in a twenty dollar coin they're more than welcome."

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