WASHINGTON - The Metro Board Thursday approved the next round of fare increases for riders -- rail, bus and parking charges will all be going up July 1.
- The average rail fare will go up 5 percent
- Bus fares go up a dime
- Parking fees go up a quarter
- There will now be a $1 surcharge for every use of a paper farecard
"What the fare increase does, is provide additional revenue to us to provide additional rush hour service, to provide additional bus service, to improve our maintenance," said General Manager Richard Sarles after the vote.
Metro is using the additional revenue to help close an estimated $103 million budget gap for the next fiscal year.
Before the vote, Metroaccess riders packed the board room and pleaded with Metro to take another look at the fare structure for the paratransit service, which most said was just getting too expensive.
"Not only do you take away our mobility (with fare increases), you crush the spirit of a person that has to choose whether they go out or stay in," one Metroaccess rider told the Board. "Please be considerate and compassionate enough to consider the persons that are on fixed incomes."
Other Metroaccess riders said the current fare structure for the service is confusing and complicated -- and disabled riders shouldn't be responsible for figuring out that complex structure.
Metro agreed to review proposed changes to Metroaccess fares, and will decide on changes at a later date.
Talking about the approved fare increases, Sarles said he knows they aren't coming at the best time for Metro.
"I fully understand. That's why we are doing all the improvements that we have been doing. For years, not enough attention and resources were devoted to maintaining the system, and providing the service that people want and deserve," said Sarles.
What may be a small victory for riders, the proposed fare changes take away the 20 cent peak of the peak surcharge, which is applied to riders traveling in the busiest parts of rush hours.
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