Brother, Can You Spare a Farecard?

Metro Board approves 18 percent fare increase

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Enjoy the lower Metro fares while they last. They're going up -- yes, again.

Metro's board already approved another fare hike in 2010 -- for the previous fiscal year -- and today it formally voted in favor of the new budget, which includes that increase.

The rise in fares will come in two phases.

The first phase will take effect Sunday. All Metrorail fares will increase by 18 percent, making the new regular base peak fare $1.95 ($2.20 if paying with cash instead of SmarTrip). On top of that, peak fares will be charged from midnight until closing on Friday and Saturday nights.

This means the maximum peak rail fare jumps from $4.50 to $5 (SmarTrip) or $5.25 (cash).

The second phase will begin Aug. 1. Metro will tack on an additional 20 cents for trips during the "peak of the peak" periods. Those are weekdays from 7:30-9 a.m., and 4:30-6 p.m.

Bus fares will increase 25 cents to $1.50 if you use SmarTrip -- $1.70 cash. That increase also takes effect Sunday.

Metro officials are looking to close a $189 million budget gap. These increases are expected to raise $109 million.

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