Metro Board of Directors Gets Update on Fare Hike

Metro's Board of Directors got an update on plans to raise fares during a board meeting Thursday.

The transit agency is proposing a 3-4 percent hike for rail fares, a 15-cent increase for bus trips when riders use SmarTrip cards, and a 5 percent increase, on average, for MetroAcess rides.

The average increase for a rail trip would be about a dime.

Here's a quick look at Metro's plans to raise fares:

  • Bus: Base SmarTrip fare goes from $1.60 to $1.85. Cash fares go from $1.80 to $2.
  • Metrorail: Overall increase of 3 to 4 percent for peak and off-peak trips.
  • MetroAccess: Fares will increase in line with bus and rail; maximum one-way fare will stay at $7.
  • Parking: Increase of $0.25 at all stations. Additional surcharge of up to $0.50 at Prince George's County stations, at the request of the county. (Parking rates at Metrorail stations in the county are currently 50 cents lower than elsewhere.)

Transit agency leaders tout these increases as a way to help lead to a more reliable trip overall.

The Metro board still has to agree on a hike. It will make a final decision on how much to raise fares next month, and any increases wouldn't take effect until July.

Metro received 6,754 comments during a public comment period on the proposed fare increases.

Seventy percent of respondents believe riders should pay less and jurisdictions should pay more to fund service improvements. Metro also found that almost half of respondents reported they would not change the amount they ride Metrorail as a result of a 3-4 percent fare increase.

Most respondents said they would be unaffected by the fare increase on Metrobus. However, half of MetroAccess customers said they would ride less as a result of the fare increase.

According to Metro, the majority of the comments focused on fare hikes coming at a time when bus and rail issues remain, as well as the impact to MetroAccess customers.

MetroAccess leaders say ridership has been spiking in recent years -- up 6 percent over budget forecast in the second quarter of Metro's 2014 fiscal year.

For a look at the complete fare hike document, click here.

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