The Metro Transit Authority yesterday authorized the development of a pass that Metro riders could purchase for use on both the bus and the subway.
The action was one of several the board took to deal with some sticky fare questions that have cropped up as Metro changes from a bus-only operation into an integrated bus rail system.
The board also referred to committee for one week any action that would alleviate the burden of extra fares that has fallen on Southeast and Far Northeast D.C. residents with the implementation July 1 of combined bus-rail service.
Under the fare structure some D.C. residents have suffered a daily fare increase of as much as 50 cents for a transit trip that takes longer. The increase to most suburban residents has been in most cases no more than 10 cents.
"It's an absolute must that we solve this problem," D.C. Transportation director Douglas N. Schneider said. A Metro board committee will consider various proposals, including one that some express bus service for D.C. residents be restored. A committee report and board action are scheduled for next week.
The "transit pass" that the board authorized yesterday is a concept that Metro officials have suggested before but have not been able to resolve. The board told the Metro staff to develop a proposal by November.
The board also administratively moved the D.C.-Maryland boundary to the middle of the Takoma Park Metro station which will open in November on the line from Rhode Island Avenue to Silver Spring. That action means that both D.C. and Maryland residents will be able to ride buses to the Takoma Park station, just barely in Maryland, without having to pay extra fare that is involved in crossing the District line. Similar action had also been proposed for the Silver Spring station, but the board did not act on that suggestion.
The board also said it was studying two or three options to solve the quirk in the Metro fare structure that costs people who use a bus, a train, and then a bus for a one-way trip as much as $1.10 a day more for a round trip than a bus-only round trip would have cost before July 1.
The board authorized general manager Theodore Lutz to negotiate with various other transit suppliers - especially the Reston commuter buses - to work out transfer arrangements between their vehicles and Metro facilities. Lutz said any agreements would have to provide "the best fiscal resolution" for Metro.
Metro is also working to solve the problem of Southeast and Prince George's residents crossing Pennsylvania Avenue SE at the Potomac Avenue Metro station when they transfer from rail to bus.
Bus stops have been moved and barricades placed to direct the pedestrian flow across Pennsylvania Avenue, and further negotiations between D.C. and Prince George's County are under way. D.C. is concerned about excess bus traffic on neighboring residential streets.
Board members were also told that a bus stop at the Federal Center SW Metro station was being moved from 3rd Street SW around the comer to D Street SW so Prince George's residents would not have to stand in the mud while waiting for buses in the evening.