Metro’s board approved its final budget for the 2024 fiscal year on Friday, which included fare increases for the first time in five years. The budget (and fare hikes) take effect July 1.
Riders with longer commutes will be most impacted by the new train fares – there’s a $0.40 per mile charge after the first three miles of travel. Fares will range from $2 minimum to $6 maximum on weekdays (the board initially considered a $6.50 maximum fee but faced pushback from riders). Weekend and late night fares will remain $2, and MetroAccess fares are capped at $4.
The fare increase is an effort to help Metro avoid a budget deficit that was in part caused by a decline in ridership in recent years. While ridership has improved and even broken pandemic records in recent months, it still hasn’t caught up to pre-pandemic levels. Historically — according to data presented at Metro’s Financial and Capital Committee meeting Friday — passenger revenue funded 36% of Metro’s operating budget, 80% of which came from Metrorail funds.
Metro says it will also use revenue garnered from the increases to launch a regional low-income fare program, which would provide customers who get Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits a 50% discount on rides. Metro already has similarly reduced fares for seniors and people with disabilities. Details on how to sign up for the low-income fare program are forthcoming, and the board is expected to get an update on the program next month.
Click here to read the rest of the article written by Sarah Kim over at DCIST
Leave a Reply