Metro’s GM discusses fare increase, Silver Line

Metro General Manager Richard Sarles discussed the obstacles that still need to be completed before the Silver Line can open in July. (WTOP/Sarah Beth Hensley)
When will the second phase of Silver Line to be ready?

wtopstaff | November 15, 2014 9:36 am

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WASHINGTON — Metro customers can expect to pay more for trips beginning this weekend — and the increased fares will apply to the new Silver Line segment set to open in July.

The fare hikes, which go into effect June 29, will increase Metrorail use by an average of 3 percent — about 10 cents — per trip, Metro General Manager Richard Sarles said on WTOP Tuesday.

Short trips of 3 miles or less will increase from $1.70 to $1.75 during off-peak and from $2.10 to $2.15 during rush hour.

Metrobus fares will increase as well in what Sarles called a “mixed bag.”

Regular bus fares will become $1.75 regardless of how you’re paying. The fares now are $1.60 for SmarTrip users and $1.80 for those who pay with cash.

Parking rates will increase by 10 cents at all Metro-operated facilities, too.

Parking rates will increase an addition 50 cents for Metro-operated facilities in Prince George’s County — except at the Landover, Addison Road and Prince George’s Plaza stations.

MetroAccess fares are decreasing. The maximum MetroAccess fare will be lowered from $7 to $6.50.

Watch a video about the Metro rate increase:

The higher rates will apply to customers riding the Silver Line. Metro opens a $2.9 billion segment of the line next month.

Sarles said enough progress has been made to safely project July 26 as the date the five new stations will open.

After delays and budget complications, the line runs through Tysons Corner from Reston to Falls Church on a route that roughly parallels the Dulles Toll Road.

Preliminary work has begun on a second phase that will extend the line to Dulles International Airport. It will take years to finish the second phase, Sarles says.

“It takes time to build all that concrete. It will get there,” he says.

Sarles says in the month leading up to the Silver Line’s opening, there is just a little bit more work that needs to be done, including getting certificates of occupancy for stations, getting documentation submitted, going through test drills with emergency responders and running simulated service on the line.

“I’m confident it’s going to be open on July 26 at noon time,” Sarles says.

The Silver Line was scheduled to open last year but was delayed several times during construction.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority found several problems with the construction, including speakers that posed a fire hazard and problems with communications cables. Other problems were found with the automatic train control system, escalators, water leaks and permits.

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