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Rate Hikes Coming For Metro Riders

Board votes to eliminate 'peak of the peak' surcharge at Thursday meeting, but moves forward on other increases

Metro riders will pay at least $0.10 more per off-peak ride — and up to $.75 more during peak hours — in a fare adjustment passed Thursday by the transit authority's board of directors as part of a $1.58 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2013.

The increases, which also include a $0.25 hike in parking lot and garage fees and a $0.20 charge for paying bus fares with cash instead of a SmarTrip card, would take effect July 1, the Washington Post reports.

The fare hikes are part of a plan to close a projected $103 million deficit. Initially, the board had predicted it would face

Metro would eliminate the "peak of the peak" surcharge passed on to riders during rush hour, which was introduced with the system's last significant fare hike in 2010.

It would also discontinue $9 day passes, valid weekdays after 9:30 a.m., and replace them with $14 tickets good at any time, any day of the week, the Post reports.

Current New (Effective July 1) Base peak rail fare $1.95
$2.10 Maximum peak rail fare $5 $5.75 Base off-peak rail fare $1.60 $1.70 Maximum off-peak fare 
$2.75 $3.50 Bus fare $1.50 $1.60 Cash surcharge, bus n/a $0.20 Paper surcharge (not SmarTrip), rail n/a $1

In a system that determines fares based on distance traveled, those commuting into Washington, D.C. from Virginia and Maryland suburbs will be the hardest hit. Maximum peak fares of $5.75, up from $5, means riders will pay $1.50 more for a round trip — an increase of $7.50 for a five-day work week and more than $380 over the course of one year.

The system will finalize its budget in May.

Metro about the increases in February and March.

At a meeting in April, the board said its ridership forecast for the next year had improved: It predicted 11 million more passenger trips than originally projected in November and $9 million in additional revenue prior to any fare change, according to a Metro release.

For the full story from the Washington Post, click here.

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