MetroAccess fare changes to begin Feb. 27
Efforts aimed at managing growing cost of paratransit service
MetroAccess fares will change on Feb. 27 as part of Metro’s overall fare adjustments that were approved last June for the current fiscal year.
The new MetroAccess fares will be based on the distance and time of day that a customer travels. The MetroAccess fare will be twice the amount of what the fare would cost on the fastest comparable trip if the same trip were taken on fixed-route services (such as Metrobus and Metrorail), up to a maximum fare of $7. All grandfathered trips outside the ADA service area will be charged a supplemental fare, up to the maximum. MetroAccess customers currently pay a base fare of $3, however the actual cost to provide that trip is $40.
To make sure MetroAccess customers are aware of the upcoming changes, information is being posted inside all MetroAccess vehicles and on MetroAccess phone lines as well as the MetroAccess web page. Customers will be mailed a newsletter and new customer guide with updated information about the fare structure and service area this month. Automated phone calls also will be placed to customers.
MetroAccess officials have met with the Accessibility Advisory Committee, MetroAccess Subcommittee and various advocacy groups such as Centers for Independent Living in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia to discuss the upcoming fare change.
MetroAccess customers will be informed of the exact fare that they are expected to pay for a trip when they book a trip online or via phone with a MetroAccess reservations agent. To determine how much a comparable Metrobus or Metrorail trip will cost, MetroAccess customers can visit Metro’s Trip Planner at metroopensdoors.com, and enter the origin, destination, time and date of their trip. The MetroAccess fare is calculated by doubling the SmarTrip-based fare for the first itinerary that is generated, up to a $7 maximum.
For customers’ convenience and to ensure they receive the most reliable service, fare payment in the exact amount is required prior to boarding all MetroAccess vehicles. Metro is encouraging MetroAccess customers to prepay their fare with MetroAccess EZ-Pay. Customers can add money to their EZ-Pay account with a credit or debit card by phone or online; with cash, credit or debit at the Metro Center Sales Office, or through SmartBenefits. Customers can view step-by-step instructions on how to use EZ-Pay online, or they can call 301-562-5360 to request that a brochure be mailed to them.
MetroAccess has phased out the use of tokens and fare cards in an effort to simplify and reduce the time required to pay fares. As of Feb. 1, MetroAccess no longer accepts them for fare payment. Customers may exchange unopened packages of tokens and/or MetroAccess fare cards for EZ-Pay credit on Feb. 9, 10, 16 and 17 at the Metro Center Sales Office and the Metro Headquarters Sales Office. The Metro Center Sales Office is located at 12th and F Street, NW, (inside the Metro Center station) and is open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays. The Metro Headquarters Sales Office is located at 600 Fifth Street, NW, and is open from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. weekdays.
Effective July 1, 2010, the MetroAccess service area was changed to provide paratransit service to locations within ¾ mile of fixed route services (such as Metrobus and Metrorail) during the same hours that fixed route transportation services are available. Customers who traveled outside the ADA service area and/or hours in FY2010 were permitted to continue to do so under a grandfathering provision adopted by the Metro Board of Directors. All grandfathered trips outside the ADA service area will be charged a supplemental fare, up to the $7 maximum.
Metro is encouraging people with disabilities who are able to travel on Metro’s fully accessible bus and rail system to do so and take advantage of Metro’s Reduced Fare program. People with disabilities who qualify for the program pay half the regular fare on Metrobus and Metrorail, which is no more than 85 cents per trip on Metrobus and $2.50 per trip on Metrorail.
Metro has a free travel training program to teach people with disabilities how to travel independently on Metrobus and Metrorail. Training sessions are customized based on an individual’s needs. Anyone interested in scheduling a free system orientation should call 202-962-1100 or e-mail email@example.com.
Questions and answers about MetroAccess fare changes
News release issued at 1:01 pm, February 4, 2011.