The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority introduced a series of fare adjustments over the summer in order to raise $108.7 million in budget funding for the 2011 fiscal year.

Starting June 27, the regular base boarding fare for Metrorail increased about 18 percent from $1.65 to $1.95. The Metrobus fare increased to $1.50 for SmarTrip card users, and to $1.70 for riders paying with cash. The prices of Metrorail passes increased by 15 percent, and the price of the weekly Metrobus pass increased from $11 to $15, but frequent riders will continue to save money by buying the passes instead of the individual fare cards.

etrorail and Metrobus fares for the elderly and disabled increased by 50 percent.

WMATA took a number of other steps to raise money and cut costs. The 5A bus running from the Rosslyn Metro station to Washington Dulles International Airport and the B30 bus running from Greenbelt Metro Station to Baltimore-Washington International Airport now cost riders $6, compared to the previous fare of $3.10. The annual fee for WMATA patrons to rent bicycle lockers at Metrorail stations increased from $70 to $200, marking the first price increase in the rental fees since the program began in 1978.

The rail-to-bus and bus-to-bus transfer periods were both lowered from three to two hours. If riders pay their bus fares with SmarTrip cards, they may make unlimited Metrobus transfers within a two-hour period. Patrons who pay their Metrorail fares with SmarTrips pay reduced fares if they need to make a transfer to a Metrobus within a two-hour period.

The second phase of fare adjustments for Metrorail began on Aug. 3, though it was originally scheduled to take effect Aug. 1. The date was pushed back in order to provide WMATA workers adequate time to post updated fare charts.

SmarTrip card users continue to pay the old fare, but the fare for riders purchasing paper fare cards increased by 25 cents. In addition, patrons riding on weekdays from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and from 4:30 to 6 p.m. began paying a 20-cent surcharge.

WMATA also introduced three new Metrorail passes, including a weekly short trip pass ($32.35), a weekly fast pass ($47), and a transit link card for Maryland Area Regional Commuter train and Virginia Railway Express ($102).

While Metrorail and Metrobus patrons may take issue with the fare increases, a press release from WMATA noted that public opinion was taken into consideration when the board of directors moved forward with the fare adjustments. “[An] overwhelming majority of riders said that they preferred fare increases instead of service reductions,” according to the press release.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *