May 28, 2010

D.C Metro to raise fares, add peak-period pricing

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (Metro) board of directors provided guidance to Metro staff to begin to work on a number of fare adjustments in the transit agency's FY2011 operating budget, subject to final board approval on June 24.

The fare changes are expected to be enacted system-wide on June 27. The new fares will generate $108.7 million to help close a $189 million shortfall and build a sound budget for the new fiscal year.

During the public comment period on the budget, the overwhelming majority of riders said that they preferred fare increases instead of service reductions and no service reductions are planned.

Beginning June 27, Metrorail fares will increase 18 percent, with the peak period boarding charge increasing from $1.65 to $1.95. The maximum peak-period Metrorail fare will increase from $4.50 to $5 for customers who pay with SmarTrip and from $4.50 to $5.25 for customers who pay with a paper fare card.

A new system of "peak-of-the-peak pricing," which will cost Metrorail riders an additional 20 cents for trips that are taken weekdays between 7:30 and 9 a.m. and between 4:30 and 6 p.m., was also green-lighted. The maximum fare during this period for customers who use a paper fare card will be $5.45.

Peak-of-the-peak pricing will be implemented on August 1 to allow Metro staff additional time to make the necessary computerized fare collection changes.

Meanwhile, Metrobus fares will increase 20 percent, from $1.25 to $1.50 for customers who pay with SmarTrip and from $1.35 to $1.70 for customers who pay with cash. The Metrobus Weekly Pass price will increase from $11 to $15. The weekly pass allows unlimited travel on Metrobus for seven days, and customers begin saving money after taking only 10 trips.

MetroAccess paratransit base fare will increase from $2.50 to twice the equivalent fixed route bus or rail fare, up to $7. Supplemental fare for service provided beyond the ADA core service area will increase by $1 per zone, up to $5.

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