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D.C. Circulator Fares Could Double Under Budget Proposal

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The popular bus service could end up getting more expensive, though higher fares would cover expanded service.
Bob Hayes: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobhayes/4078017746/
The popular bus service could end up getting more expensive, though higher fares would cover expanded service.

D.C. Circulator fares have been $1 since the bus service began eight years ago, but that could change next year.

Under a budget proposal by Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), cash fares could double to $2 a ride, while SmarTrip rides would jump to $1.50. The increased revenue would pay for Cheh's plan to expand the Circulator buses to Glover Park, the National Cathedral, and the Southwest Waterfront.

"Circulator fare has been $1 since it began in 2005.  Meanwhile, WMATA buses, their fares have increased steadily over time, so that now he have a discrepancy between WMATA bus fares and our Circulator fare," said Cheh.

Metrobus fares are $1.60 SmarTrip, and $1.80 if you pay cash.

"It happens that many of the low income areas are only served by WMATA buses and those are more expensive. Some of the higher income areas are served by the Circulator," she noted.

Cheh says her plan brings the two fare schedules into parity while generating revenue for more Circulator service.  She says she has already secured funding to bring the Circulator to the National Mall, U Street and Howard University, possibly this fall. The D.C. Council will decide the fate of Cheh's proposal in a budget vote later this month.

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