Virginia Railway Express riders are about to be hit with another fare hike. The VRE board, who this summer argued for a 15 percent hike, have settled for about a 7 percent raise.
On Friday, board members decided the increase would take effect this July, making it the third fare hike in 13 months.
Ridership, satisfaction, and on-time arrivals are up, said the VRE. The VRE board had two choices: cut service or raise fares. It chose to raise fares, believing that the 7 percent hike isn’t enough to push many of its 17,000 daily riders back into their cars.
In today’s economic climate, the VRE board says that it cannot ask the state or local government for more money; so the riders will have to pay. And pay they will; a one-way trip from Fredricksburg to Union Station will go up from $9.10 to $9.70.
The VRE board cites fuel, labor, and maintenance costs for the latest increase and hopes that riders will still find it convenient to board the trains. Still, in this volatile economy, how much more will prices need to rise and when will people stop riding? These questions will remain on the minds of those on the VRE board.