Many speakers at a hearing on proposals to raise most base fares to 75 cents called on the Metro board last night to reject the proposal, citing a need to improve service, cuts costs and avoid new burdens on the poor.
Alexandria resident Walter Molony suggested the rise was not needed because of federal money coming to Metro from the new 5-cent-a-gallon federal gasoline tax. He also called for cuts in salaries of senior Metro managers.
Walter Loftin, another speaker, said Metro should reduce base fares to 50 cents, cut staff wages and secure more advertizing revenue and aid from local businesses.
Thad Stover, an Alexandria resident, said Metro's operating costs should be paid in full by the people who use it. Property owners should not be forced to pay for a service they don't use, he said.
Seven of 23 speakers at the hearing, conducted at Hammond Junior High School in Alexandria, were members of the All-Peoples Congress, an activist group that helped organize demonstrations against the Ku Klux Klan rally last November.
The group's speakers said that any money needed could be raised by taxing banks, real estate companies and corporations. Group members waved placards during the 2 1/2-hour hearing.
Six more hearings are planned this month.