Beginning this summer, metro users will have to pay more to get from point A to point B….
The board that oversees Metro approved a broad schedule of hikes in rail, bus and parking fees, which will go into effect on July 1.
On the rail side, boarding fares during rush hours will rise from $1.95 to $2.10. Mileage fares will also increase. The maximum rush hour rail fare will rise from $5 to $5.75.
Off-peak boarding fares will rise by a dime, and the maximum off-peak rail fare will jump from $2.75 to $3.50.
The surcharge for peak-of-the-peak rush hours, however, will disappear.
Rail customers who still use paper farecards (rather than the plastic SmarTrip cards) will see a big jump in the surcharge for using the paper cards; that fee will rise from 25 cents a ride to a $1 a ride.
Bus fares are going up, too. Bus riders using SmarTrip cards will pay $1.60 rather than $1.50. The cash price on regular Metro bus routes will jump from $1.70 to $1.80.
All-day parking at most Metro parking lots will rise by a quarter.
Metro’s door-to-door service for the disabled is called Metro Access. Fares are based on regular bus and rail fares, so Metro Access riders will also pay more. Dozens of them came to the board meeting and spoke out against the fare hikes.
“People will not be able to ride,” declared blind passenger Denise Rush, leaning on her cane as she addressed the WMATA Board. “[Disabled passengers] won’t be able to go to dialysis, to doctors appointments. They won’t be able to live.”
Metro calculates Metro Access fees based on a formula of doubling whatever the “fastest” bus or rail routes would cost. But there are wild fluctuations in those costs, depending on where Metro’s computer calculates the nearest bus is at the time of the scheduled pickup.
“If I call to make a reservation at 10:30,” Metro Access passenger Phil Posner told the board, “I may get a fare that is $4 more expensive than if I make the reservation for 10:15.”
Although board members approved the fare hikes, they also directed staff to quickly devise computer models that will allow handicapped passengers to calculate lower trip costs, such as a bus-to-bus routing, rather than routing most trips through the rail system, which is more expensive.
Metro Access trip fees are capped at $7, and that figure will not change.