Metro sets dates for hearings on fare increases

January 6, 2014
Metrorail riders could see fare increases up to 4 percent on average, though some might pay more. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
Metrorail riders could see fare increases up to 4 percent on average, though some might pay more. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Six public hearings on Metro’s fare and fee increases are scheduled for late January and early February. The transit authority also has opened up an online survey so people can comment on Metro’s budget proposals.

Use this link to see the online survey. It will be available till 5 p.m. Feb. 11.

Two hearings will be held in Maryland, Virginia and the District, for a total of six. The Metro board has approved a set of proposals for fare increases to take effect in July, along with the new budget. After the hearings, the board will make a final decision on exactly how much to increase the rail, bus and parking charges.

It’s very unlikely the board will adopt everything in the proposals. Whatever increases the board adopts can’t be any greater than what the public is asked to consider at the hearings. So the board members normally give themselves some maneuvering room. After the hearings, watch for some maneuvering among board members over how the cost burden is distributed among riders.

Those representing inner jurisdictions will be especially concerned about protecting bus fares and short rail trips. Those representing outer jurisdictions will be particularly mindful of the parking fees and the cost of long rail trips.

Follow this link to see Metro’s formal announcement about the hearings (pdf), which includes details on the upper limits on all types of fare increases.

Each public hearing will be preceded by an informal information session at 6 p.m. This is a chance to talk with Metro officials about any transit topic, whether or not it’s part of the fare increase agenda. The formal public hearings will begin at 6:30 p.m. This is the chance to offer testimony on the proposed budget and the fare increases.

Hearing locations

  • Wednesday, Jan. 29: Greenbelt Marriott, 6400 Ivy Land, Greenbelt. A free shuttle will operate to and from the Greenbelt station.
  • Thursday, Jan. 30: Hilton Springfield, 6550 Loisdale Rd., Springfield. A free shuttle will operate to Franconia-Springfield station after 7:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Feb. 3: Matthews Memorial Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 2616 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE in the District.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 4: Montgomery County Executive Office Building Cafeteria, 101 Monroe St., Rockville.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 5: Arlington Central Library, 1015 North Quincy St., Arlington.
  • Thursday, Feb. 6: Metro headquarters building, 600 Fifth St. NW in the District.
Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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