Metro Chief Wants to Charge Rush Hour Fares for Inauguration Day
Metro is now recommending that people who park in its lots on Inauguration Day pay the normal fee instead of parking for free and that those who ride the subway pay rush-hour fares instead of off-peak fares. Metro has said it will run rush hour services for 15 consecutive hours from 4 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Jan. 20, the day Barack Obama is sworn in.
In a radio interview today, Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. said the transit agency will be recommending the fare and fee change to its board on Thursday. The decision will be made by the board, he said.
Agency officials had initially said they would charge off-peak fares on Jan. 20. But given the huge crowds expected, with estimates ranging from at least one million people to up 4 million in attendance. The agency is also staying open past midnight, the normal weekday closing time, until 2 a.m.
The agency’s expenses will be enormous, although exact costs won’t be known until after the event. “These are going to be very high expenses for the Metro system,” Catoe said on WTOP radio. “We shouldn’t minimize the impact.”
Charging rush-hour fares will help the agency cover some costs. “We will ask the federal government to reiumburse us for any difference between the fares and the cost of operating the services,” he said.
A one-way, off-peak trip from the Shady Grove Metrorail station, one end of the Red Line in Montgomery County, to the Gallery Place-Chinatown station in downtown Washington, costs $2.35. The same trip during rush-hour costs $4.50.
Metro also has parking at 42 of its 86 stations, mostly in the suburbs. Parking is free on weekends and federal holidays, but agency officials say they are recommending that users pay the normal fee to help offset the cost of hiring a private contractor to oversee parking that day. Parking fees vary, ranging from $4.25 to $4.75.
By Lena H. Sun
David A Nakamura
December 16, 2008; 12:45 PM ET
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