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Metro panel passes fare hike to full board

Meeting preview | Possible fare & service changes | Audio of meeting
2011 Budget proposal (PDF)

Dr. Gridlock's opinions: Peak of the pique | A core charge

12:30 p.m. Update: A proposal to increase fares at Metro are moving ahead after the finance and administration committee voted to pass the plan to the full board of directors.

On Thursday Metro finance staff presented options for fare increases and service cuts at a committee meeting. The panel decided to send the proposal to the full board, which is scheduled to meet on the issue May 27.

Metro is considering raising fares and cutting services to help close a historic $189 million budget deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Options include a 15 percent hike in rail fares and a 20 percent increase in bus fares.

Peak rail fares could go from $1.65 to $1.90 and bus fares from $1.25 to $1.50.

Also being weighed are new "peak of the peak" rail fares, an additional charge during the service times when ridership is heaviest, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

11:22 a.m. Update: The finance committee of Metro's board of directors pressed ahead and approved a motion to recommend a fare hike plan to the full board, but opposition to the action by some board members left a final decision on the fare hike in limbo.

Jim Graham, board member from the District, voted against the committee recommendation. "This is a flawed process," he said.

Board Chairman Peter Benjamin said that because no full board vote would take place on Thursday the board would have latitude to change the fare hike plan at its May 27 meeting.

"No decision is made here other than to recommend something to the board," he said.

Original post: Members of Metro's board of directors are debating whether to take the unusual step of making a decision on a significant fare hike in isolation rather than in the context of the budget as a whole.

Some board members expressed reluctance to take that step.

"I'm very uncomfortable," said board member Jim Graham of the District. Board members Christopher Zimmerman of Arlington and Mortimer Downey, a federal representative, agreed.

"Nothing is decided until everything is decided," he said.

Metro Chief Financial Officer Carol Kissal urged the board's finance committee to provide some guidance to allow the staff to move ahead with fare increase plans and not run the risk of losing revenue if the fare hike has to be delayed beyound the start of the new fiscal year on July 1 and the lucrative July 4 weekend.

"If we got some kind of direction we would be happy," she said.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

By Michael Bolden  |  May 13, 2010; 11:22 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Comments

For the first time in my 15+ career, I've started looking at the price of parking if I choose to drive into work. I can walk to my metro but since I get out at a high traffic stop, I could be looking at a roughly 30-40% increase in my metro fare each way.

I believe the 50 cent surcharge is to make folks relieved when the actual surcharge is only a quarter. If the surcharge is 50 cent, I'm most likely going to be driving.

Posted by: hoo93 | May 13, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I used to think that funding, or middle management (particularly those bus/rail "supervisors" or communications staff in customer facing positions were the issue. I think I have now been enlightened, the real problem is the Metro Board. PB is saying that they are tabling the most critical discussion of the year for TWO WEEKS? Lock these spoiled idiots in a room, and don't let them out until they make a decision. Even congress can do that! How hard is this, really? I don't care if you're "uncomfortable", make a decision so the rest of the Metro staff, and riders, can begin to plan for the future, however painful it may be.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | May 13, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Metro Board is slowly killing one of the better subway systems in the county. Recent fare hikes, proposed station closures, lack of affordable parking, cutting services just proves it. I suppose they are too busy to reliaze that encreasing fares for every day commutes only hurts them even more. Hike the price for mid-day and weekend travelers instead - tourists mostly - with pricier one day passes. Sell week/month passes. Improve services by adding cars and trains, so more current drives switch to metro riding. Make parking available and affordable. I suppose Metro is just going to keep increasing fares, instead of improving the service and attracting new riders.

With proposed fare increases, my wife and I will be spending close to $400 a month, just for the train service going to and from work. By comparasin, unlimited one-month pass on New York transit system is $89. Congratulations Metro! You have done it - I would rather sit in traffic.

Posted by: romka | May 13, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Just increase it to $2! We'd save money on fewer accountants.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | May 13, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

why should we as customers pay for metro mistakes i will stop using metro and buy and car and used my own gas also metro raising prices but can not keep the escalators and elavators working probably 365 day a year

Posted by: quaniciamcdonald | May 13, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

why should we as customers pay for metro mistakes i will stop using metro and buy and car and used my own gas also metro raising prices but can not keep the escalators and elavators working probably 365 day a year

Posted by: quaniciamcdonald | May 13, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Page 18 of the "proposed fare" stipulates that express service for both Dulles and BWI will increase to double!! Are they out of their minds? To that I say: before YOU even consider that price hike...YOU MUST increase service frequency!!!!!!! There are more suitcases than people on most buses, perhaps they should charge them per suitcase just like the airlines. There is the Flyer...don't advertise it as an alternative to passengers to go to the airport....It was created for airport workers....who not only earn minimum wages, but must endure trips along with "tourism" and lost passengers....and to add insult must pay for METRO ineptitud....

I see a solution: why don't they stop giving 3-5% yearly increases to the Union...METRO should be privatized! Pay for performance from top to bottom....we all can see a betterment in service. They don't perform? then fire them all!

Posted by: rm1024 | May 13, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Why does this article dance around the edges of the dysfunction that is the Metro Board? If you listen to the meetings, which are broadcast on the WMATA site
(http://wmata.com/about_metro/board_of_directors/meetings.cfm), you'll hear choice quotes like "That's why it's important to track what happens from one meeting to the next" from Jim Graham.
Actually, when Graham said "this is a flawed process," the continuation was "and I want to convene a meeting." As if that would be the solution to anything.
You never got a feel that anyone really knew what they were talking about, especially with regard to the ridiculous peak of the peak concept.
You have to feel for Metro staff that will have to try to rush to enact some of the most complex fare increases ever contemplated by any transit agency EVER. Oh when when are they thinking of getting this off the ground? July 1.
It's disgraceful. It really is, and a paper like the Post should tell it like it is. Shielding the public from the stupidity of the leaders only prolongs the problem although it may lengthen your access to the players.

Posted by: unsuckdcmetro | May 13, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Turn off the third rail and just let people walk in the tunnels.

If Metro can't function, it can at least get out of the way.

Posted by: jiji1 | May 13, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The problem is not the metro employees nor their salary increases, but the board. It is $2.00 to ride the bus in NYC, Chicago and other metro areas. Bus should increase to $2.00, parking fees should be lower at stations, and the rail increase should be applied throughout the day for the mid day and late night crowd.

Posted by: rontaylor68 | May 13, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I would like to point out that Local 689 is currently working without a contract but employees were subjected to a large hit to their salary to supplement their medical premiums. Thank Mr. Catoe for this.

$2 in NY to ride the entire system one way. Not just two stations. There is serious need for change at Metro.

Posted by: sunny95 | May 13, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Bureaucrats. Ugh. Raise fares and watch ridership plunge and the budget gap widen. Then you'll have to cut service, defer maintenance, etc. and it's a death spiral. Want to sell more of something? Have a SALE! Lower fares and add cars to the trains. My guess is it costs just about the same to run a 4 car train as a 6 car train. Fill them up with passengers!

Posted by: scoakley | May 13, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock--I'm wondering what options are available for people who want to stick with public transportation but are fed up with Metro. The MARC and VRE Trains can be good for some who live near a station and work near Union Station. But that won't work for everyone. What else is out there?

Posted by: JW9288 | May 13, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock--I'm wondering what options are available for people who want to stick with public transportation but are fed up with Metro. The MARC and VRE Trains can be good for some who live near a station and work near Union Station. But that won't work for everyone. What else is out there?

Posted by: JW9288 | May 13, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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