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Metro Fares Going Up, But By How Much?

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Metrorail fares are likely to rise by 10 cents or more on average.
Nathasha Lim/WAMU
Metrorail fares are likely to rise by 10 cents or more on average.

Fare hikes are on the way for those riding the Metrobus, Metrorail and using MetroAccess in July.

And while the increase in fares is expected to take effect in July, what Metro board chairman Tom Downs can't guarantee right now is just how much they're going to go up.

"We don't know. We have to pay for the whole system and part of the problem with increasing rail fares right now is that rail ridership is stable to declining over the last couple years," Downs says.

Metro's finance committee has some idea of how high fares will go. The proposal being considered (PDF) would hike rail fares 3 percent, or about 10 cents on average. Bus fares would jump 15 cents to $1.75 using SmarTrip, $2 cash.

Downs isn't sure Metro has explained why bus fares have to increase by almost 10 percent.

"Part of what the general manager was saying is that bus fares have lagged rail fare increases for the last two or three fare hikes," Downs says. "And this is kind of a catch-up, but we have not been clear about saying that."

MetroAccess fares would increase 5 percent, and parking would jump 25 cents a day across the system, but 75 cents a day in Prince George's County.

A vote on a final fare proposal is expected by the end of the month. The fare increase goes into effect July 1.

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