Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime (or More)?

Even steeper increases could take effect in July

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCWashington.com

    A 10-cent fare increase on Metro began Sunday, and it will affect suburban transit riders as well.

    The increase applies to both rail and bus fares and will remain in effect until the last train and bus trips are done early on the morning of June 27, according to the Washington Post. It's meant to help close a budget shortfall.

    To alert customers to the change, Metro said it has posted signs on Metrorail fare vending machines and faregates, Metrobus fareboxes and inside MetroAccess vehicles. You will also hear announcements made about the increase in Metrorail stations.

    Passengers shouldn't expect much relief after it ends. The transit agency's board of directors is considering even steeper increases that could take effect in July. From Metro's statement on the current increase:

    Additional fare changes and other actions related to Metro’s fiscal year 2011 budget are likely later this spring as Metro grapples with a projected $189 million budget deficit.

    The 10-cent increase means the regular base fare for a rail trip will go up to $1.75. The lowest off-peak fare will rise to $1.45, while the maximum fare will increase to $4.60. Metrorail fares for senior citizens and those with disabilities will increase to 85 cents from 80 cents.

    Bus fares are going up to $1.45 for people who pay cash or $1.35 for passengers who use SmarTrip cards. The Metrobus express service cash boarding charge will increase to $3.20 from $3.10, and the SmarTrip® boarding charge will increase to $3.10 from $3. Metrobus fares for senior citizens and people with disabilities will increase a nickel to 65 cents.

    Changes to Metrorail passes

    • The Metrorail One Day Pass will increase from to $7.80 to $8.30;
    • The Metrorail Seven-Day Short Trip Pass will increase from $26.40 to $27.90;
    • The Metrorail Seven-Day Fast Pass will increase from $39 to $40.50;
    • DC Student 10-trip fare cards will increase from $8 to $8.50; and
    • The Metrorail Transit Link Card (MARC and VRE) will increase from $80 to $84.

    Changes to Metrobus passes

    • The Metrobus Weekly Flash Pass will increase from $11 to $12; 
    • Adult tokens (10-pack) will increase from $13.50 to $14.50; 
    • DC student tokens (10-pack) will increase from $6.25 to $6.75; 
    • The weekly Senior Flash Pass will increase from $6 to $6.60; and 
    • The weekly Disabled Flash Pass will increase from $6 to $6.60.

    Metro's fare increase has also affected Montgomery County's Ride On bus system, Fairfax Connector and the Transit Link Card in Maryland and Virginia, the Washington Post reported.

    Ride On will charge an overall 10-cent increase per trip, for those paying with cash or SmarTrip, along with a 10-cent increase for those transferring from Metrorail to Ride On and the same surcharge for those taking the express route for Route 70 (Milestone in Germantown to Bethesda). 

    A Ride On Day Pass will increase to $3.20 from $3.

    The Fairfax Connector will also start charging 10 cents more on Sunday for cash or SmarTrip-paid rides. Seniors and people with disabilities will need to pay a nickel more than their usual fare of 60 cents. Express fares for routes 380D, 595 and 597 will remain the same.

    For those who use the Transit Link Card, a monthly pass for riding the VRE, MARC and the Maryland commuter buses, Maryland and Virginia will add $4 to the monthly cost of the pass, which can also be used on Metro.