WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Opponents Of Metro Fare Hikes Say Increases Are Too Much

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Some Metro riders told Metro they oppose any fare increases at a Metro public hearing March 1.
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Some Metro riders told Metro they oppose any fare increases at a Metro public hearing March 1.

Metro riders opposed to paying more to ride the rail or bus made their voices heard at a Metro public hearing on a proposed fare increase in D.C. Thursday.

From his wheelchair, Pat Spray implored the Metro board to spare Metro Access riders an increase. Metro has proposed raising the maximum one-way fare to $7.40, up from the current $7. Spray says it will price out the disabled.

"I'm one of the lucky ones, I've got a job," Spray said. "Statistically speaking, about 6,000 of us do. The rest of us are living on between $660 and $1,000 a month."

Others among those who would have the hardest time paying also poured out the strongest pleas: the sick, the elderly, and the disabled -- including Linda Sherrod. 

"They are on fixed incomes," Sherrod said. "We cannot afford to pay a round trip of fourteen dollars."

Leslie Wilcox said she's ready to quit Metro. "If you go through with these proposed fare increases, I will be forced to buy a car and join the bitter traffic on our congested roads," she said.

According to an analysis by the transit agency, taking Metro would still be cheaper than driving and paying for parking in D.C.

Metro says the fare increases are necessary to raise $66 million to pay for new rails, rail cars, elevators, escalators, and platforms. All things that are needed, conceded riders at the hearing -- but not at their expense.

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