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Metro Budget Proposal Features Five Percent Fare Hike

Fiscal year 2013 plan, presented to board of directors today, would also add 1,000 employees.

The fiscal year 2013 budget Metro General Manager Richard Sarles unveiled Thursday morning proposes hiring more than 1,000 employees in a plan that also raises bus, rail and parking rates across the system.

The $1.6 billion budget proposal would increase fares by 5 percent while expanding the system's total number of employees by 9 percent, according to the Washington Post.

It's not clear how much those positions would cost the system, which faces a $116 million budget shortfall.

According to the budget, the fare hikes are expected to make up much of that gap. Still, Sarles told the Post these changes would not help improve service, but rather, keep it running at its current level.

Among the changes:

  • Base rail fares would increase from $1.60 to $1.70.
  • Minimum "peak" rail fare would increase from $1.95 to $2.10 at its lowest; it would max out at $5.75 for the system's farthest reaching areas, up from the current $5.
  • Base bus fares would go from $1.50 to $1.60.
  • Parking fees would increase $.25.
  • Those who use paper farecards would pay one-way flat fares instead of fees based on station. The cards would cost $6 during rush hour and $4 in off-peak times, regardless of where the rider traveled.
  • Day passes would no longer be an option.
  • The one bright spot for riders who remember the fare hikes of two years ago: Metro would eliminate the "peak of the peak" surcharge passed on to riders during rush hour. 

Many of the new employees would serve as train operators, station managers and Metro Transit police officers for the new Silver Line, which is on track to run from Reston through Tysons Corner to downtown Washington, D.C. starting in 2013; even more would be part of the system's safety and repair efforts, the Post reports.

Read the rest of the story here.

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