Metro's facing a $40 million budget hole, and riders will be footing the bill.
The Metro Board approved a 10-cent fare increase at a meeting Thursday, NBC4's Chris Gordon reported. The increase will be in effect from Feb. 28 through July 1, and means no services will be cut -- at least for now.
Metro has tried to figure out how to trim the fat, and several options have been in play for several months. They included fare hikes, closing station entrances and cutting services. There also has been talk of longer wait times between buses and trains.
This fare increase only goes through the end of the budget year. A new budget was proposed to the Board Thursday and includes another $190 million shortfall. So more increases or cuts -- or both -- are probably on the way.
Metro says it's in a tough spot, and riders aren't happy. The public gave board members an earful Wednesday night during a public hearing.
"These four proposals that were laid before me are choosing basically from the less of four options, and they are a sham, and I consider them garbage," said one rider during the meeting.
"Many of our residents don't have cars," another rider said. "They may have to walk to a Metro station, they may have to walk blocks to get to a bus stop because we don't have bus service in our neighborhood. But we need to have this service. We cannot take any more cuts."
"Don't change weekend start times, raise the fares," said Carl Saperstein, a local tour guide who testified against the proposals. "Don't cripple our economy."