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Friday Question of the Day – Will Metro Fare Increases Affect Your Commute?

Photo by PoPville flickr users ericandkatherine

WMATA releases word on what is looking like the inevitable, a substantial fare increase:

Metro’s Board of Directors provided guidance to Metro staff today, May 27, to begin to work on a number of fare adjustments in the transit agency’s FY2011 operating budget, subject to final Board approval on June 24. The fare changes are expected to be enacted system wide on June 27. The new fares will generate $108.7 million to help close a $189 million shortfall and build a sound budget for the new fiscal year.

During the public comment period on the budget, the overwhelming majority of riders said that they preferred fare increases instead of service reductions and no service reductions are planned.

Beginning June 27, Metrorail fares will increase 18 percent, with the peak period boarding charge increasing from $1.65 to $1.95. The maximum peak period Metrorail fare will increase from $4.50 to $5 for customers who pay with SmarTrip® and from $4.50 to $5.25 for customers who pay with cash.

Metrobus fares will increase 20 percent, from $1.25 to $1.50 for customers who pay with SmarTrip® and from $1.35 to $1.70 for customers who pay with cash. The price of a Metrobus ride remains lower than bus fares in most major Metropolitan areas. New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle each charge $2 or more for a bus ride.

In addition to Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess fare changes, the following changes also will take effect June 27:
• The Metrorail-to-Metrobus and Metrobus-to-Metrorail transfer period will decrease from three to two hours;
• Reserved parking fees will increase from $55 to $65. All other parking fees will remain unchanged; and
• The annual fee for renting a bicycle locker at Metrorail stations will increase from $70 to $200. It is the first increase in locker fees since the inception of the program in 1978. A reserved, secure place to store a bicycle is only 55 cents a day.

The Board of Directors is expected to vote on the final FY2011 budget at its June 24 meeting.

Will this affect your decision to use metro or metrobus to commute to work? With the increase will anyone consider driving instead of taking metro? Do you still support the fare increase over service cuts?

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