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Metro Manager Proposes Fare Hike

5 percent increase on rail would take effect in July

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Metro manager Richard Sarles says a fare increase will be necessary to cover the system's budget in 2013.
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Metro manager Richard Sarles says a fare increase will be necessary to cover the system's budget in 2013.

It could soon cost a little more to ride Metro. The transit agency is proposing raising bus and rail fares by about 5 percent in an effort to overcome a $116 million shortfall in its upcoming operating budget, according to NBC Washington.

Rail passengers who use paper fare cards would see the biggest change under the proposal, with the cost of a trip using the paper fare card being $6 during peak periods and $4 during off peak periods. Currently, paper fare card users only pay a nominal surcharge for using the cards.

Sarles' proposal would also increase rail fares in rush-hour periods for those using SmarTrip cards, however. Rates would go up "by an average of less than 5 percent and be capped at $5.75 for peak periods. The plan would also eliminate the "peak-of-the-peak" surcharge. MetroBus fares would increase by 10 cents, and parking fees would increase by 25 cents.

Metro General Manager Richard Sarles tells NBC Washington "years of not spending enough money on maintenance" have hurt the system. The fare changes could yield $66 million in revenue, Sarles says. 

Sarles plans to present the proposed operating budget for fiscal 2013 to Metro's board of directors Thursday. If approved, most of the rate changes will take effect July 1.

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