On Thursday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s board approved a 10-cent increase on Metrobus, Metrorail and MetroAccess fares. The new fares will be in effect until the end of June to avoid service cuts.
The resolution proposed by board member Chris Zimmerman of Arlington, Va., does not call for any withdrawals from the Metro’s budget for long-term maintenance and equipment purchases, according to The Washington Post. The Board vote was unanimous following 20 minutes of debating between increasing fares or withdrawing money from the capital budget, according to the Post.
“We heard from our customers that they would rather increase fares than reduce service,” Peter Benjamin, the new WMATA chairman, told the Washington Post. “Not a single member of this board wants to increase fares or decrease service, but we need to take this temporary action to balance the budget this year.”
While the increase is currently set to end in June, it is likely to become permanent, according to the Post. The fare increase will generate approximately $10 million, but the Metro budget for the upcoming fiscal year projects a $189 million budget gap.
Students, especially frequent Metro riders, had mixed reactions to the announcement.
“As a D.C. native, I feel that while I don’t like that it’s more expensive, if increased funds help make the Metro safer, I can spare an extra 10 cents,” Suzanne Fonzi (COL ’13) said.
Erika Pincus (SFS ’13) feels the small increase in fares will steadily add up.
“It may not seem like a lot of money at first glance, but it definitely adds up seeing how the Metro system is the form of transportation I use most,” Pincus said. “However, I am willing to pay it if that’s what has to be done to keep the Metro running efficiently.”
Some Georgetown students are uneasy about the fare increases and fear this may deter people from taking the environmentally friendly public transportation.
“While the amount seems small, in these tough economic times, the smallest price increase hurts,” Michael Fischer (SFS ’13) said. “The cost increase punishes those who, by riding the Metro, clear congestion on the streets and make our city cleaner.”