WMATA’s latest fare proposals are out, and as expected they include a number of increases.
Paying more for the same thing always sucks, but it sucks less than service cuts. Service cuts would have a stronger negative effect on ridership, which would reduce WMATA’s revenue and leave its budget in even worse shape. They’d have to cut service again and again, in a neverending death spiral of lower service leading to lower ridership leading to lower revenue leading to lower service.
The fact that our transit system is underfunded is unfortunate, and in the long term we need a sustainable solution such as more direct dedicated funding. But in the short term, another round of fare hikes is the lesser evil. It’s what WMATA has to do to stay alive.
Dan Malouff is an Arlington County transportation planner who blogs independently at BeyondDC.com. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.