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Metro Riders Say Close The Gap With Higher Fares

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Hundreds of people flocked to Metro's hearing on closing the agency's $40 million budget gap.
Rebecca Sheir
Hundreds of people flocked to Metro's hearing on closing the agency's $40 million budget gap.

By Rebecca Sheir

Metros board of directors is poised to decide how to cover the transit agency's $40-million budget shortfall. Many transit advocates and riders are backing a 10-cent fare hike to close the gap.

The fare increase is one of several options along with reducing service and dipping into capital funds Metro offered for comment at a standing-room-only hearing last night. Rodney Green, a resident of D.C., was among many who acknowledged the difficulty of the decision.

I kind of like to go to action movies," says Green. "And in some of them I've seen this dramatic scene where after they've captured somebody and are torturing them they say, which would you prefer? Shall we cut off your arm or shall we put out your eye?"

But most people suggested raising fares would help maintain service and safety whereas cutting service would harm businesses increase crowding and, as David Alpert of D.C. points out, discourage transit use.

The most important thing that we need to do," says Alpert, "is to make sure that we don't begin the dangerous spiral about ongoing service cuts which might lead to ridership decreases which leads to further budget problems.

Metro says any fare increase or service cut would go into effect March 1st.

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