Metro fare increases considered for Fiscal Year 2015

Photo: Jay Westcott

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Metro is considering a series of fare hikes for its bus and train starting late next year, citing the opening of the Silver Line and growing ridership figures.

This means that Dominique Cromartie’s costly commute from Reston may get even costlier.

“I'm coming out of Fairfax, so that's costing me every two weeks, $130," she says. "The increase in the fares is not good at all -- it's very expensive, its taking a lot out of our pockets and I think it's unfair."

The highlights of the fare increase would include a 15 cent increase in bus service and an average overall increase of 3 percent for trains, WMATA officials say they're looking at in a report released Thursday.

On the rails, the fare increase would mean that a rider's average trip would cost 10 cents more per rise, a hike that would increase base and maximum fares proportionally.

Christina Chavarria rides the bus and the train to commute, and says, "I think it would force people to reconsider investing in a car."

Metro is also thinking about eliminating the cash surcharge on all bus routes and instead charging $1.75 for all rides on regular routes. SmarTrip riders currently pay $1.60 per ride with a free transfer, while riders who pay in cash must pay $1.80.

Express route bus fares would also go up to $4, while 5A and B30 routes to Dulles International and Baltimore-Washington International Airport would go up a dollar to $7 per ride.

The maximum MetroAccess fare would remain steady at $7 under the proposal, officials say.

Beyond fare increases, WMATA is considering the addition of a 3 or 4-day unlimited ride "convention pass," likely aimed at tourists and business travelers, and either the modification or outright elimination of the 1-day unlimited rail pass.

Metro is also looking at making changes to its parking prices, including a system-wide 25-cent fee increase and the ability to change prices on a station-by-station basis. The proposal would include the ability to change its FedEx Field event pricing.

These increases would reportedly raise an estimated $30 million in revenue.

According to WMATA, maintenance costs over the last couple years have gone up, and they have to provide for that. The board has a policy every two years of visiting the issue, and staff discussed on Thursday an increase that's actually less than the inflation that took place over the last two years.

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