Metro Board approves 10-cent fare increase to close FY2010 budget gap
Increase will take effect on or about March 1 through June 30
Metro’s Board of Directors today (January 28) approved a 10-cent increase on Metrobus, Metrorail and MetroAccess fares to help close an existing $40 million budget gap. The fare increase will take effect on or about March 1 through June 30, and it also will apply to weekly Metrobus and Metrorail passes.
The Board’s decision was based largely on input from riders, who testified at a public hearing yesterday (January 27) or submitted written comments about staff proposals to close the budget shortfall. Eighty-eight people testified at the hearing and 596 provided written comments, a majority of which favored a fare increase and opposed service cuts.
“We heard from our customers that they would rather increase fares than reduce service,” said Peter Benjamin, Metro’s Chairman of the Board who was sworn into office today. “Not a single member of this Board wants to increase fares or decrease service, but we need to take this temporary action to balance the budget this year.”
The 10-cent fare increase is expected to generate about $9.6 million in revenue during a four-month period. The remaining budget gap is expected to be filled by making $2.2 million in departmental reductions, utilizing $6 million in insurance recovery from the June 22 Red Line accident, using as much as $10 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds from project budget balances to support preventive maintenance, adjusting call center hours to save $200,000 and tapping a $5.6 million reserve fund, as needed.
Metro’s Board directed staff to identify an additional $6.4 million in reduced spending that would have no impact on customers. Such reductions likely would include contract services and consulting work, according to Carol Kissal, Metro’s Chief Financial Officer and Deputy General Manager of Administration.
Following are the specific fare increases that will take effect on or about March 1 through June 30, which is the end of Metro’s fiscal year 2010. Additional fare increases and other actions related to Metro’s fiscal year 2011 budget are likely later this spring as Metro grapples with a projected $189 million budget deficit.
Metrorail regular fare changes
• The base boarding charge will increase from $1.65 to $1.75;
• The maximum fare on the rail system will increase from $4.50 to $4.60; and
• A surcharge of 10 cents will increase Senior/Disabled rail trips, up to a maximum of one-half the regular fare, including the surcharge.
Metrorail reduced fare changes
• The charge for the first 7 composite miles of travel during off-peak periods will increase from $1.35 to $1.45;
• The charge for travel between 7 and 10 composite miles of travel during off-peak periods will increase from $1.85 to $1.95; and
• The charge for travel over 10 composite miles during off-peak periods will increase from $2.35 to $2.45.
Metrobus fare changes
• The Metrobus cash boarding charge will increase from $1.35 to $1.45, and the SmarTrip® boarding charge will increase from $1.25 to $1.35;
• The Metrobus express service cash boarding charge will increase from $3.10 to $3.20, and the SmarTrip® boarding charge will increase from $3 to $3.10;
• The Senior and Disabled Metrobus fare will increase from 60 cents to 70 cents; and
• A surcharge of 10 cents will increase the charge for reduced Metrobus fares in the District of Columbia.
MetroAccess fare changes
• The MetroAccess fare will increase from $2.50 to $2.60.
Changes to Metrorail passes equivalent to 10 cents
• The Metrorail One Day Pass will increase from to $7.80 to $8.30;
• The Metrorail Weekly Short Trip Pass will increase from $26.40 to $27.90;
• The Metrorail Weekly Fast Pass will increase from $39 to $40.50;
• The Metrorail SmartStudent Pass will increase from $26 to $27.50;
• The Metrorail Transit Link Card on MARC and VRE will increase from $80 to $84;
• The Metrorail Transit Line Card on MTA will increase from $135 to $139; and
• DC Student farecards will increase from $8 for 10 trips to $8.80 for 10 trips.
Changes to Metrobus passes equivalent to 10 cents
• The Metrobus weekly flash pass will increase from $11 to $12;
• DC student tokens will increase from $6.25 to $6.85;
• The weekly Senior Flash Pass will increase from $6 to $6.60; and
• The weekly Disabled Flash Pass will increase from $6 to $6.60.
Media contact for this news release: Angela Gates or Steven Taubenkibel at 202-962-1051.
For all other inquiries, please call customer service at 202-637-7000.
News release issued at 5:30 pm, January 28, 2010.