Get ready to pay 15 percent more to ride the rails and 20 percent more to get on the bus. The Metro Board Finance and Administration Committee decided Thursday to send proposed fare increases to the full board.
The historic increases would be the largest in Metro's history, according to the Washington Post. Peak rail fares could go from $1.65 to $1.90 -- with "peak of the peak" fares of 10 or 20 cents more from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. -- and bus fares from $1.25 to $1.50
The vote could go through Thursday while haggling over details could delay an agreement on the 2011 budget for a month or so.
We've all seen a fare hike of some sort coming. Metro's $189 million budget shortfall along with safety and service issues have been quite public. It is just now coming to light that the fare hike is substantial. Hardest hit may be the elderly and disabled, who rely on Metro's paratransit service to get around. That hike will be twice the comparable bus fare. This will bring in another $1.1 million.
Another surcharge could be as much as 50 cents if you travel in the 21 most crowded stations. Metro Center and Union Station come to mind. Those extra revenues would be millions more.
Peter Benjamin, Metro Board Chairman, said he doesn't know when the 2011 budget will pass, but board member Mortimer Downey said he doesn't think the budget will be approved before the May 24 meeting.