Metro has released the official start date of the latest round of fare increases: Starting June 25, most riders will pay 10 cents to 25 cents more per ride on the trains and buses.
June 25 is also the date when Metro will institute a new weekly schedule that pares down service in the evenings and on weekend mornings. Starting June 25, Sunday train service will run from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. The system will operate 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, trains will run from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. And on Saturdays, from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.
June 25 is also the launch date for changes to the bus schedule. A host of routes are being eliminated, combined or modified in Metro’s operating budget for fiscal 2018. For a full list of those changes, check out Metro’s official list here.
But some riders have wondered: What’s with the slight change in the date? Metro’s fiscal year starts July 1, and that’s the day that Metro staff had used as they discussed and debated the planned fare hikes and schedule changes with riders and public officials.
It turns out that the language in the actual operating budget that was passed by the Metro board says the changes “will be effective starting on or about July 1, 2017,” which gives them a little leeway. Metro may have been aiming to institute the changes on the first day of the week. June 25 is the Sunday preceding July 1.
One bright spot in all of this: At a news conference Thursday, Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld all but promised that he would not attempt to introduce fare increases next year. Asked by a reporter whether a round of hikes in summer 2018 remained on the table as a solution to fix Metro’s financial problems, Wiedefeld said he had no intention of going down that road.
“No. The policy is every two years,” Wiedefeld said, citing a Metro board directive that says that Metro officials should limit fare increases to once every two years to keep pace with inflation but avoid overburdening riders.