Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 9:59 AM ET, 01/12/2010

Demand pricing isn't right for Metro

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Alice Cave
Alexandria

Samuel R. Staley failed to take some key points into account in presenting his ideas about demand pricing for Metro [“A $40 million crisis that Metro can’t afford to waste,” Local Opinions, Jan. 10]. Charging lower fares at lesser-used stations will not change most riders’ behavior. Riders choose trains that go to their destinations. I ride a bus to the Pentagon each day to catch the Blue Line to McPherson Square, where my office is located. Having lower fares on the Green Line won’t change my behavior, since that line does not stop anywhere near my office.

Metro lines are fixed routes, which is why the comparison to toll lanes on highways does not really work. It is much easier to alter your route in a car. For most people, getting to work during rush hour is not a “convenience,” as Mr. Staley put it, but a necessity resulting from their work schedules.

Which leads me to my final point: Part of the reason for having public transportation options such as Metro trains and buses is to get people out of their cars. This is why Metro ridership should be encouraged. Jacking up rates on the most-used lines at the busiest times rather than raising them evenly across the system will have the effect of alienating riders — and encouraging them to get back into their cars.

If the choice is between fare increases and service cuts, I am for fare increases. But Virginia, Maryland and the District need to start looking at Metro as a way to ease their traffic problems and make meaningful contributions to the system’s operational funding.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | January 12, 2010; 9:59 AM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Metro  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: What James Cheek accomplished at Howard
Next: Civil disobedience and a custody fight

Comments

Alice, you fail to see the fact that riders inbound to DC have no other choice but metro-- traffic is horrible and parking expensive. So Metro can afford to charge them more.

Where Metro fails to get me out of my car, as I have a reverse commute from Arlington to Reston, is they charge a flat fee that doesn't make me want to double my commute time by trading my car for a walk/train/bus. The outbound trains are nearly empty and have to go out to come in anyways. If they charged 50-75% of current, I'd strongly consider taking up the inconvenience.

I don't know why Metro and Fairfax county don't team up to get more people moving the opposite direction. Fairfax has lower unemployment and DC has high unemployment. Charge less on outbound trains, maybe have Fairfax kick in an incentive for businesses and let the beautiful music of symbiosis play.

Posted by: toshiro1 | January 12, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm neither for service cuts or price rises. There is a third option and that is cutting expenses. Metro has over the last two years hired staff who are being paid at over 100,000 dollars a year. These people also get reduced or free travel on the metro system. I believe Metro has turned into a monster of sorts.

I agree with Ms Cave that traveling by car is more flexible. It is cheaper and takes lesser time. To move people out of cars, metro will have to expand its web -either through train services or rapid-long-distance express bus services. We should shift the funds from lane expansions to such projects which will really ease congestion. Building extra lanes will only move the bottleneck from one place to another.

Posted by: flaxseedsrgood | January 16, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company