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Metro Board Rejects Consideration of Fare Increase

12: 44 p.m. Update:
The Metro Board of Directors just voted four to two in favor of considering a fare increase of up to 5 cents to offset service cuts proposed for the bus lines. But the motion was defeated. The two votes against the motion were cast by the District.

Any of the three jurisdictions -- Maryland, Virginia or the District -- has veto power on a motion like this. Maryland and Virginia representatives favored giving riders the opportunity to comment at hearings on the choice between a fare increase and a service cut. The District is opposed to considering a fare increase option.

Instead, the full board unanimously decided to ask riders for comment only on the version of the 2010 fiscal year budget that would be balanced through cuts in bus service. (See the previous entry for the list of cuts, reductions and a few fare increases on specific routes. But add one thing too it: The NH1, the National Harbor bus, would be rerouted from Southern Avenue to Branch Avenue.)

Next step: The transit authority is going to schedule a series of public hearings in Maryland, the District and Virginia. It's very unlikely that the board would make the cuts any more severe after these hearings. It's more likely the board would decide to restore some of the service. So if you're looking for some comfort out of today's events, find it in the fact that you're looking at the worst we're likely to see this year in terms of service cuts.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 26, 2009; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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I'm happy the board rejected the consideration for a fare increase, especially when Metro surreptitiously increased the fare of riders who transfer from the train to the bus. Long gone are the days where train riders paid $.35 to transfer to the bus. The cost is now $.75....which in turn is an additional expense at the end of each month.

Of course when I called Metro about the increase, none of the representatives seemed to know what was going on. If anything the Metro representative tried to justify the increase as a backwards.

Posted by: quietstorm797 | March 26, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@quietstorm797 - can you explain the part about being upset that the rail->bus discount is now 0.50 from .90, however, the bus->rail discount is now 0.50 from 0.00?

If you take the bus after rail, wouldn't you also take it to get to the rail?

For some (myself included), the fact that there is now a bus->rail discount is good news, as I didn't always do a round trip on metro, thus, would sometimes pay full bus and rail and if I didn't come back using metro would never get a discount.

Posted by: blahhhhhhhh1 | March 26, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I think that vetoing a 5 cent fare increase was a pretty short-sighted move. Such a small rise wouldn't only affect people at the very fringes of the margins, and would make the busriders carry a more fair share of the burden -- WMATA's buses are extraordinarily subsidized, especially so when compared to Metro. I'd rather pay 5 cents more per trip than suffer cuts in service and a complete halt in advancements such as NextBus, etc, which can improve the quality of the system as a whole.

Posted by: iammrben1 | March 26, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

er... "would only affect" not "wouldn't" in my post above.

Posted by: iammrben1 | March 26, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Quietstorm, it *is* a savings, because the roundtrip discount is now $1.00 instead of $0.90. It used to be a 90-cent discount one way and full-price the other way. It's evened out now to a 50-cent discount for each leg.

AND, the bus transfers now work for a longer window and even on the same route in round trip. So, if you take a bus somewhere, shop, and go back home, all within a few hours, you only pay for one bus ride.

Posted by: Joey-K | March 26, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Can it be confirmed that platform/mezzanine/station entrance closings are now off the table entirely?

Posted by: pkpdc | March 26, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Joey-K - I noticed that as well. It used to be 2 hours and now its 3 hours for bus-bus transfers, even when a rail trip is in the middle.

Joey-K -- are you the Joey that posts on GGW?

Posted by: blahhhhhhhh1 | March 26, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Here's a thought--they could implement a monthly pass system that worked with Smart Trip cards. The cost would be $100 and would allow you to ride anywhere on the Metro system at any time during the month. Since many people get transit subsidies from their workplaces, they would say that they needed $100 a month instead of whatever they're getting now. Other area residents could get Smart Trip cards and pay a discounted price for service. Finally, they could start charging more for paper tickets. That way, the biggest share of the cost burden would be on tourists and the least burden would be on regular riders.

Posted by: philb1 | March 26, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: bs2004 | March 26, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@pkpdc: Yes, all cuts to rail service including closing mezzanines/entrances are dead for this year. Metro doesn't have time to officially propose them and have public comment before the new FY starts. With the proposed cuts, there isn't any more budget gap to close, so they're not needed.

@philb1: That pricing for monthly passes would be a BIG money loser for WMATA. Current weekly passes are $39 per week for rail and $11 per week for bus, so for "unlimited everywhere" you're talking closer to $200 for a month.

The existing passes are supposed to be usable with Smartrip cards later this year (September 2009).

Posted by: perkinsms | March 26, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The reason for that is that you now get a transfer BOTH ways. Instead of getting a 90 cent discount one way (from rail to bus) you now recieve a 50 cent discount both ways so for those using bus and rail for both ways of their commute actualy save 10 cents a day.

Posted by: dguruswamy2 | March 26, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: I was sorry to see the board end consideration of the station mezzanine closings at off peak hours. Some of those station entrances aren't used by many people. Better to close some station entrances rather than cancel some bus routes.

Posted by: rtthomson1 | March 26, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Thia area has some of the cheapest bus fare I've ever seen. Most places are $1.50-$2.00. I know that statistically bus riders make less money, but if the concern is keeping the bus affordable, we could get better passes. Like a monthly one.

Posted by: breetaiya | March 26, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

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