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Metro panel OKs new fare hike idea

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A committee of Metro's Board of Directors on Thursday approved the concept of imposing a new five-cent surcharge that would apply to entry and exit in no more than two rail stations each in Virginia, Maryland and the District to fund capital improvements to the Metro system at those stations.

The board has yet to decide where and when to implement the surcharge, but one proposal would be to improve capacity and circulation at Union Station. The proposed work would include moving the First Street entrance to Union Station north and enlarge the entrance to give commuters more room, building two new elevators and an escalator and adding faregates.

"I use Union Station every day and there are just bottlenecks," said alternate board member Anthony Giancola of the District.

Metro top finance officer Carol Kissal said that there are about 33,000 daily boardings at Union Station, so the surcharge would raise about $400,000 on an annual basis. She said the funds would match a District grant for the improvements.

Board Chairman Peter Benjamin abstained from the committee motion and Jim Graham of the District voted against it. "We are approving a fare increase, details to be provided later," Graham said in voicing his objection.

Original post: Metro's Board of Directors on Thursday is scheduled to debate a new five-cent surcharge that would apply to entry and exit in two stations in each Virginia, Maryland and the District to fund capital improvements at those stations.

According to the Board's finance committee agenda, tyson.gif board members are being asked to discuss which stations would impose the surcharge and when it would be implemented.

Metro officials could not immediately provide details on the surcharge idea, which the agenda states was contained in a public docket on the Metro budget.

The agency approved a 10-cent fare increase Feb. 28 to help close a deficit in its fiscal 2010 operating budget and gave initial approval on May 27 to a broad package of fare increases to raise $109 million toward reducing a gap in the 2011 budget.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

Ann Scott Tyson is covering the meeting. Check back for updates.

Metro's pique of the peak | Fare changes from May 27 | Fare Calulator

By Michael Bolden  | June 10, 2010; 11:18 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Comments

You have got to be kidding me...*sigh.*

Posted by: forget@menot.com | June 10, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

You have got to be kidding!!!! This is plain greed and nothing more. How dare Metro propose anything with the services they provide. Every day this week on the Orange/Blue line, there were major problems. Come on commuters, it's time for a boycot against.

Posted by: daughterofold | June 10, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I thought this was already part of the original package...that's how Fox5 reported it anyway.

Posted by: bmp246 | June 10, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Wait a minute! Riders are to pay separately for improvements at stations? Are you kidding me!? What about charging for cleaning the stations? The electric bill for the stations? Is Metro taking a page from the airlines and intend to nickle and dime riders for every little thing they can think of?

Posted by: Jimof1913 | June 10, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Will they turn the escalators back on?

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 10, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Which stations?

Posted by: wmsheppa | June 10, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Will they turn the escalators back on?

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 10, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse


Well, if they do, I think you might have to pay another nickel to ride them.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 10, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

So, how long before they decide to start surcharging for carry-ons?

Posted by: Moonwolf | June 10, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I personally would pay a one time monetary fee to fund building stairs in addition to the escalators to raise people 12 feet up from the platform in the stations that I use - not a huge amount, but say $250 per station.

Posted by: iolaire | June 10, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Metro should have a flat fare like NY or a zone system like London. Increasing the fare 5 cents here and there is not going to work. As for Jim Graham, I do not care about the people who will suffer, because they are the same ones who are destroying the metro system. I see it every time I ride Metro and it irritates the hell out of me. You see them with their feet on seats, eating their greasy food and leaving their trash behind etc. I know that I will be blasted for this (but hey I am black, and I am sick to death of our black people destroying the metro system) and then you have Jim Graham complaining that they will endure hardship. May be some one should teach them that there are consequences to their actions. And yes, white people do it too, but trust me not to that extent. Raise the fare to either NY or London and let the losers walk or pay for what they are destroying - a once beautiful system.

Posted by: SocaJam | June 10, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

This is insane they are nickeling us to death. It doesn't seem that much by itself but all these .05 increases are going to drive a lot of people away from the system (cars, slug lines etc) and then where will Metro get their money from the rats that use their tunnels?

Posted by: lucl74 | June 10, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Nickel and dime.....nickel and dime...

Posted by: jckdoors | June 10, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

For clarity and correctness, Wapo articles about the Metro should be moved from the 'Transportation' section to the 'Crime and Safety' section.

Posted by: 123cartoon | June 10, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

My husband stopped riding the metro several plus years back when it was taking him longer to get in and out of work in DC than driving did. He stopped riding the Metro when it became cheaper for him to buy a motorcycle and park in at work - he also discovered he was using less gas than he was driving to the closest station. As long as he can ride two weeks a month, he saves money over the metro. He rides year round. On the days he cannot ride in, he will drive. With this last round of fare hikes, his more fuel efficeint car will end up saving more money than riding the Metro.

So, he saves money, he does not have to worry about late trains, breakdowns, he gets into work faster, etc. Why should be deal with all the crap with the metro? It was bad enough 13 years ago when we moved here but it is now worse.

There is no incentive for him to take the Metro anymore from where we are in Prince William County. It is sad when gas, parking fee for work garage, insurance, etc costs him less per year than taking the metro. It is sad when he uses more time to get to the metro station and into GWU than it does to go directly in. We have done all the math and the metro is no time or money savings any more.

Last time we came into DC as a family for an event, we took the Metro. It took us close to two hours to get home and cost almost as much as parking. When we have driven in for events, we have gotten home in an hour and paid about as much to park as we would for fares.

Posted by: Homemom | June 10, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm all in favor of this hike. In fact, I'd support rush hour fares between midnight and 3am if it keeps the trains running longer. Profit!

Posted by: ahowl7mx | June 10, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh hell no.

Fire the Board.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | June 10, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"When in Rome..."

Nothing more than Republic syndrome...

Posted by: cbmuzik | June 10, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that a large portion of Metro riders don't pay for their trips -- we taxpayers do! So they don't care WHAT it costs to ride. (Why do highly paid SES scale gummint workers get Metro welfare in the first place?)

When the new fare hike goes into place, I will be able to drive from Wheaton to 16th & M and park more cheaply than taking Metro. While I now enjoy being able to read instead of fight traffic, there are always books-on-tape...

Posted by: pmendez | June 10, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

And I back the concept of the complete elimanation of Metro, and imprisonment of all it's management.

Posted by: Trout1 | June 10, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Next thing on the Metro board's agenda:

Get the rats in the tunnels and the birds on the station roofs to pay rent.

Posted by: ceefer66 | June 10, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Metro needs to cut some salaries. They are not losing ridership because of the economy but because they crash trains and their service is horrible (I ride every day and can tell you that the service is horrible). Also, we need to vote the Board members out. They just keep coming back for more and more with no regard to how this affects normal people's finances.

Posted by: columbiaheights | June 10, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

How is jim graham opposed to it when the only station listed is Union Station, IN DC. He's simply blowing smoke with the district already choosing a station yet he doesn't think his own station should get the funding? What a joke. He also said capital shouldnt be funded as much as it is, even when it is hardly enough to keep the system running as it is. He's single handedly bringing down the system.

Posted by: ct24535 | June 10, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I think they have it backwards. They need to **PAY US** for riding. All this nickel and dime-ing - it's just cheaper in the long run to drive my car.

Posted by: Libramom | June 10, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Calling all Kingston Trio tribute bands! "Charlie on the MTA" has come back to life here in DC! (Un-freakin'-believable.)

Posted by: nan_lynn | June 10, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

So they passed a fare hike that they don't know where to implement? That's just absurd.

Posted by: wmsheppa | June 10, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

wmsheppam,

This action was taken by the finance committee, which does not include all of the board members. The full board would still need to consider this.

Michael Bolden
Development &
Transportation Editor

Posted by: Michael Bolden | June 10, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of this being too easy... herewith an initial modest effort at updating the MTA song, from the original lyrics, as written by Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Lomax Hawes. FWIW, better lyrics might be had... but this is an effort to amend the original as little as possible. Replaced words are noted in parentheses. Feel free to substitute your own favorite Metro stations!

Let me tell you the story of a man named Charlie
On a tragic and fateful day
He put his farecard (ten cents) in his pocket, kissed his wife and family
Went to ride on the WMATA (MTA).

Charlie handed in his card (dime) at the Navy Yard (Kendall Square) Station
And he transferred for Woodley Park (changed for Jamaica Plain)
When he got there the conductor told him, "One more nickel."
Charlie never could disembark (could not get off that train).

Chorus: Did he ever return, no he never returned
And his fate is still unlearn'd
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of D.C. (Boston)
He's the man who never returned.

Now all night long Charlie rides through the tunnels
Saying, "What will become of me?
How can I afford to see my dad at Eastern Market (sister in Chelsea)
Or my children at UDC (cousin in Roxbury)?"

Charlie's wife goes down to the Metro Center (Scollay Square) station
Every day at quarter past two
And through the open window she hands Charlie a sandwich
As the train comes rumblin' through. *

[* Which, alas, does Charlie little good… because, as we all know, he’s not allowed to eat it on the train.]

As his train rolled on underneath the District (Greater Boston)
Charlie looked around and sighed:
"Well, I'm sore and disgusted, and I'm absolutely busted;
I guess this is my last long ride."

Now you citizens of D.C. (Boston), don't you think it's a scandal
That the people have to pay and pay
Sack the Metro Board (Vote for Walter A. O'Brien) and fight the fare increase!
Get poor Charlie off the WMATA (MTA).

Chorus: Or else he'll never return, no he'll never return
And his fate will be unlearned
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of D.C. (Boston)
He's the man who never returned.

Posted by: nan_lynn | June 10, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Just one more reason why the board needs to be replaced. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 needs to be broken like a horse too, but the board needs to step down and replaced by people who know what the hell they are doing. Obviously these people do not.

Posted by: ms7136a | June 10, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

If this boneheaded plan actually happens, can MD put it to some use and use the 5 cent surcharge to get us a second exit at Shady Grove?

Posted by: pikamander007 | June 10, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Union Station is a nightmare in the morning and evenings because the flow of people is just crazy and then you mix in all the travelers and their suitcases and its just chaos.

That being said there are some simple things they could do to improve the flow that would cost them NOTHING. The Mass Ave platform elevators are a mess because the up elevator is on the Shady Grove side and the down elevator is on the Glenmont side. This causes tons of crossover traffic because the majority of people getting off in the morning (and wanting to go up) are on the Glenmont side and the majority of people getting on (and going down) are headed to the Shady Grove side. I've suggested for years that they simply change the direction of both escalators. I was told no because an elevator study was underway for the entire Red Line and nothing could be done until it was done.

I've been suggesting this for at least 5-7 years. It would cost Metro nothing but that's not the solution - the solution is to charge me an extra nickel (both ways) to improve it.

Sigh.

Posted by: archers44 | June 11, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Let's see - they have a station that is inadequate to meet its needs, Union Station, so they expect the riders, many of whom have put up with this inconvenience for years (17, in my case), to pay extra to make the station merely adequate. Granted, this plan is easier than installing efficient management, but it reminds me of an old National Lampoon cover. This cover had a picture of a dog with a gun at its head, and the caption "Buy this magazine or we'll shoot this dog". Apparently, what passes for management at metro is now in hostage-taking mode.

However, in the spirit of trying not to complain unless I have a better idea, here is my idea, which I believe is better. I was recently in the station by the Convention Center (Mt. Vernon Sq.?), and I felt like I was in heaven. There is a huge underground room, big enough to hold a concert with an audience of a couple hundred and still allow foot traffic to pass. There were two escalators going up, two escalators going down, and all 4 were operational. In addition, there was a stairway wide enough to accomodate hundreds of hale and hearty stair-climbers. Therefore, since this station already has the luxury of a 5-star hotel in Paris or London, I suggest charging all user of that station an extra $1.00 per trip for the luxury that they already have, and have enjoyed for years. (Let's face it, at this point, operational escalators are a luxury.) Many of the users of this station are out-of-town conventioneers whose expenses are paid for by somebody else anyway, so they won't even mind the surcharge. The money can be used to bring stations such as Union Station up to standards that could be considered "minimally acceptable", or preferably "palatial". If that were to be done, I would gladly pay a surcharge at Union Station if it displayed a level of luxury and opulence to which I would like to become accustomed. In the meantime, the only thing I can say to metro "management" in response to their idiotic proposal is "FIX THE ESCALATORS AND KEEP YOUR FILTHY HANDS OUT OF MY POCKETS!!!!!!!!!!".

Posted by: MyPostID27 | June 11, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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