Public meetings scheduled for proposed Metro fare hike

Max Smith,

WASHINGTON – Now is your chance to speak your mind about plans to raise Metro fares.

The first of six public hearings on Metro’s budget for the next fiscal year is Monday night at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. There will be other meetings in Falls Church, Arlington, Hyattsville, and Southeast and Northwest D.C. over the next two weeks.

Metro says fare hikes are needed to cover improvements to the system and increasing costs. The format of the changes is also meant to push more people to use SmarTrip cards.

The proposal would raise fares for anyone using a SmarTrip, anywhere from 10 cents to $1, depending on how long the trip is, and whether it’s taken in a peak or off-peak time. The “peak-of-the-peak” surcharge would be eliminated, meaning that some riders may actually get a small discount if this plan is adopted.

The biggest proposed changes are for anyone using a paper farecard. One proposal has paper farecard users paying a flat rate of $6 in rush hour, and $4 all other times.

Another proposal would raise the surcharge for using a paper farecard from 25 cents to $1 on top of the SmarTrip fare.

Bus fares would go up 10 cents for SmarTrip users to $1.60, with cash fares rising 30 cents to $2.

Parking fee ranges would rise as well, but the cost of renting a bike locker would actually drop 40 percent to $120 per year.

All changes would take effect in July.

Below is a list of the upcoming meetings:

Public meeting schedule for Metro’s proposed fare increases

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