Local commuters will be able to tell Metro officials exactly what they think of proposed fare increases when Hyattsville hosts the last of a series of six public hearings on proposed Metro fare increases.
The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church at 6201 Belcrest Road in Hyattsville.
Previous meetings in the series, such as this one in Falls Church, have brought out crowds of speakers, many of them critical of aspects of Metro's 2013 budget.
Metro's 2013 budget unveiled last January proposed hiring more than 1,000 employees in a plan that also raises bus, rail and parking rates across the system.
According to budget documents, fare hikes are expected to make up much of that gap.
Shiva Pant, Metro’s chief of staff, said the proposed budget is the largest since the transit company broke ground on its subway service 35-years ago. He said since expenses are going up and resources are down, Metro needs $116 million to help with the budget and increases are what will drive that funding.
“In the long run the improvements will provide a better, safer commute for our customers,” Pant said at the Falls Church meeting.
Among the changes:
- Base rail fares would increase from $1.60 to $1.70.
- Minimum "peak" rail fare would increase from $1.95 to a minimum of $2.10; 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.