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Metro Reduces Fare Hike Projections For Next Year

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A Metro train whizzes by riders. Customers of the transit agency got some good news about potential fare hikes this weekend.
Scott Pitocco: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightsoutphotos/4331800230/
A Metro train whizzes by riders. Customers of the transit agency got some good news about potential fare hikes this weekend.

A new budget forecast for Metro could mean smaller fare hikes than were predicted earlier this year, according to a statement released Sunday by the transit agency. 

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced April 8 that its operating budget will only need to grow by approximately $103 million in the next fiscal year. That's a reduction of $16 million from what Metro General Manager Richard Sarles presented to the Metro board earlier this year. The revised proposed operating budget is about $1.5 billion. 

The savings became apparent because the agency will need less money due to expense reductions and an improved ridership outlook, according to WMATA.  

Metro had proposed increasing rail and bus peak fares by an average of 5 percent for the coming fiscal year. Base fares would rise by 10 to 15 cents for anyone using SmarTrip cards. The current peak-of-the-peak surcharge would be eliminated. Right now, any fare changes -- including this possible smaller adjustment -- would likely begin in July.

For regular Metro riders, the biggest change is the addition of an unlimited use plan, which Smart Trip users could purchase for $230 a month.

The board's finance committee will discuss options to amend the original fare proposal at its meeting Thursday.

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