Metro: Fare hikes could be lower than expected

Metro had planned to hike fares by an average of five percent later this year.

Metro’s proposed fare increase could be smaller than originally thought, thanks to expense reductions and an improved ridership outlook.

Metro announced Sunday that its operating budget will only need to grow by about $103 million in the next fiscal year. That's a reduction of $16 million. The revised proposed operating budget is about $1.576 billion.

Metro had proposed increasing rail and bus peak fares by an average of 5 percent.

Any fare changes would likely begin in July.

The transit agency's board's finance committee will discuss options to amend the original fare proposal at its meeting Thursday.