Get Ready for a Fare Hike

Metromap.png With Metro’s giant budget gap looming, and the budget meeting to discuss new fare and service options this evening, commuters and other Metro riders ought to get ready for some pain in the wallet. Metro’s fares have remained constaint since 2003, and are now facing a significant increase.

What’s good? SmarTrip users won’t pay quite as much an increase as those who use paper tickets, with paper ticket fares going up by $0.65 to $1.75, while SmarTrip fares will go up only $0.15 to $0.45.

What’s a little weird? That the downtown core stations will get an extra $0.35 tacked on to the fare. From Courthouse to L’Enfant Plaza on the Orange Line, Pentagon to L’Enfant Plaza on the Blue Line, Pentagon to Mt. Vernon Square on the Yellow, Mt. Vernon Square to Waterfront on the Green Line and from Dupont Circle to Union Station, is the new zone (see also the graphic here) that will receive an additional $0.35 congestion charge.

The new “max fares” under the new fare regime would be $4.75 for SmarTrip customers and $6 for paper ticket customers. Also on the block are some of the weekend and holiday services, so you may end up waiting longer and longer for trains on the weekends and on certain holidays. Metro won’t be changing service for holidays like Independence Day because they’re not completely mental. As many as twelve bus-lines may also face service cutbacks or outright route cancellations. Fares for the bus may go up by $0.05 if WMATA’s plan goes into effect.

So, fares are on the rise, and services are going to be cutback. Is this too much of a fare hike? Too much of a service cutback for too much a service cut? What say you?

graphic shamelessly cropped and borrowed from this Washington Post Story, with kudos to the graphics team there and apologies because any graphic I’d have done would’ve involved stick figures or badly drawn metro maps.

4 Comments so far

  1. Doug (unregistered) on December 14th, 2006 @ 1:33 pm

    I’ve been too lazy (or stupid) to get a SmarTrip card since I moved here. This was all the news I needed to order one online. I wonder if sales have shot through the roof since this announcement?

  2. Don (unregistered) on December 14th, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

    I’m going with too stupid. Like the smarttag for the toll road, even if it saves you from one line (or trip to the add fare thing when you lack enough to get out) it’s worth every penny. I ride the metro at most an average of every other month and I consider it $5 well spent.

  3. Doug (unregistered) on December 14th, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

    Guilty as charged. Speaking of charged, the comments thread on this issue over at WaPo is now 12 pages long and growing.

  4. Miles (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

    I’m going out on a limb and calling the proposed increase/incentive package a good thing …

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