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Posted at 10:23 AM ET, 03/23/2009

One Nickel for a Better Metro

By Gina Acosta

I have become a huge fan of the Metrorail and Metrobus systems since moving here last May. Compared with the "T" in Boston, where I grew up, this system is quite clean and much more efficient. So for those who would complain about Metro, I suggest you take a trip to Boston and just try to tolerate one ride on the Green Line on any given workday.

Now, despite the disgruntlement about Metro fares and service, I would recommend that daily fares be increased five cents per year until the system becomes self-sustaining. Why settle for budget solutions that would weaken service and would lead to putting more cars back on the road?

I am for increasing the size of parking lots at suburban stations and making the fees as low as possible to promote bus and train ridership. I am for running the system as frequently and as late into the night as is prudent, so Metro can increasingly become the “ride of choice” for pleasure as well as for business.

If this system attracts an average of 1 million riders on any given weekday, then a five-cent increase, just using weekdays, generates $12 million. An annual five-cent increase over five years generates more than enough to cover expanding service.
Everything has a price, for sure. But the price of a Metro fare increase is far cheaper than the price of a system that fewer people will want to use if it is inadequately run because it is inadequately funded.

Christopher Smallis
Arlington

By Gina Acosta  | March 23, 2009; 10:23 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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