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Metro debuts late-night fares for a flat $2 this week

The new fares, which begin after 9:30 p.m., are meant to help late-night workers and attract riders headed to events and other entertainment

Metro is cutting fares and offering discounts on weekly and monthly passes to regain ridership. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)
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Late-night Metrorail fares were rolled back to a flat $2 this week as part of the transit agency’s efforts to recruit new customers to replace thousands of pre-pandemic commuters who have chosen remote work over the office.

Metro proposes fare cuts to lure riders in budget that assumes slow return of passengers

The flat fare begins after 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and was created to lower costs for late-night workers and encourage more people headed to and from bars, restaurants and events to use Metrorail.

Metro charges a minimum $2 fare during off-peak hours that rises as the distance of a trip increases, up to $3.85. Peak or rush-hour trips cost a minimum of $2.25 and a maximum of $6.

Metro passes new budget that includes $2 late night fares

Last year, Metro began offering flat $2 weekend fares in a bid to attract more families on social outings.

Metrorail ridership has grown slowly since pandemic restrictions were lifted but remains less than half of pre-pandemic levels. Last week, the rail system averaged 270,000 daily trips on weekdays, or 43 percent of trips taken in January 2020, two months before the pandemic began. Transit officials are projecting a budget shortfall of up to $500,000 a year starting next summer because of commuter losses, prompting Metro to cut fares and offer discounts on monthly and weekly passes to attract new riders.

The transit agency is offering new discounts on unlimited-pass prices, providing more flexibility for customers who no longer commute five days a week, the agency announced. Unlimited-pass prices, which vary by distance traveled, are now based on customers taking fewer trips each month and have been discounted between $8 and $24 per month.