Metro fare hike proposed to close $116M budget gap

Under the plan, bus and rail fares and parking rates would rise five percent.

After several weeks of cracked rails and failing brakes, Metro wants to raise its rates.

The Washington Post reports the transit agency says a fare hike will help offset a $116 million dollar budget shortfall for 2013.

Under the plan, bus and rail fares would rise five percent. That means the maximum peak fare would go from $5 to $5.75. The base fare during off-peak hours would increase by a dime, from $1.60 to $1.70.

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The most significant impact would be to people who use paper fare cards. Whether going two stops or 10, riders would pay one-way flat fares: $6 during rush hour, $4 during off-peak hours.

"What are we paying more for?" said one rider. "I think they really have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what they have to do to improve service before they increase fares."

Metro contends the increase will allow them to offer more service by increasing capacity on buses and trains.

"Between 8 - 9 a.m., you'll see six additional trains on the Orange line and more trains at certain stations one the Blue, Yellow and Green lines as well," said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

Parking rates would go up, too.

The Post reports Riders Metro General Manager Richard Sarles plans to present the plan to the board of directors Thursday.