WASHINGTON — Metro leaders took their case for higher fares and reduced service to area leaders Wednesday. The changes are proposed as part of Metro’s upcoming budget and could take effect in July.
“We have not had a fare increase at Metro in three years,” said Regina Sullivan, Metro’s director of government relations, during a meeting of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Transportation Planning Board.
Under the plan, rush-hour rail fares would go up by as much as 10 cents, and non-rush hour rail fares would increase by up to 25 cents. Metrobus fares would go up by 25 cents as well.
“The riders who are dependent on the bus are going to be disproportionately impacted,” said D.C. Council Member Charles Allen, stating more lower-income people rely on the bus service.
Parking rates would also go up by 10 cents. Additionally, service reductions would “right-size” Metro’s operations to account for decreased ridership, transit agency officials said.
Prince George’s County Council Member Dannielle Glaros said it was unfortunate that service reductions are being discussed as more transit-oriented development projects are in the works. Service cuts present “fundamental challenges” in getting more people to ride Metro, she said.
“None of us should be surprised” by the need for service cuts, said Metro’s managing director of planning, Shyam Kannan. In addition to being necessary as a money-saving measure, Kannan said the cuts are needed for safety.
“The fact that today service cuts are necessary to do the rebuilding that for decades WMATA had asked to do and fund, but were denied … is not a surprise and should not be one,” he said.