VIA DC EXAMINER:
Admidst news of derailments, computer glitches, fire and other life-threatening situations cropping up on Metro trains, the transportation agency has announced on their website that they will be raising their fare beginning next week. Fares on Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess will increase 10 cents, effective Sunday, February 28, through June 26. Fare will be raised even further come the summertime. In addition, fares for senior citizens and people with disabilities will go up five cents and the cost of passes also will increase to help close a shortfall in Metro’s current operating budget.
For those who commute to work daily using Metro, the news of a fare increase is unwanted but understandable.
“I ride Metro at least 3 days a week,” says Quineice Clarkson, a Maryland resident who works in DC. I think that the fare hike is better than the alternative which would be cutting back on service and probably laying off Metro workers.”
News of the fare increase began circulating shortly after Metro head administrators left office and were replaced. Metro immediately began a marketing blitz to ease customers into the news, posting signs on Metrorail fare vending machines and faregates, Metrobus fareboxes and inside MetroAccess vehicles.
The unintended consequences of the fare is its impact on social services in the Washington DC area. Many nonprofits in the city who serve low-income and disenfranchised residents purchase tokens and fare cards to aid their clients in traveling to and fro to receive services. Valarie Banks Ashley, executive director of Southeast Ministry in SE, recognizes that the Metro fare increase may impact the attendance rates of those registered for services from her nonprofit.
“The fare hike has a powerful effect on programs like mine that provide tokens and farecards as a support for people to attend classes and also to get to job interviews and jobs until they get a first paycheck. It means that we will have to cut back on how much we can help,” says Ashley.