Metro riders may be shelling out more next year. On Monday, the transit agency released its proposed 2015 budget and that includes new fare hikes.
FOX 5 first told you about the possible increase back in October. Now, Metro is moving forward with the proposal.
The obvious question on riders' minds: “How much and what do I get for it?”
To answer the first question, rail fares would go up an average of 10 cents. Roundtrip five days a week adds up to a dollar a week or $52 a year.
"If it's going to be just 10 cents, 15 cents, I may not like it as an individual, but I think it's best for the entire system," said Vincent Larry.
Bus riders would be hit hardest. The price would go up 15 cents if you use a SmarTrip Card, and to $1.75, although those who pay cash will see their $1.80 fare drip by a nickel. So most bus riders would pay another $1.50 a week if they travel roundtrip five days a week or $78 a year.
That is a stretch for some budgets.
"Just got to knock something else out of the way so I have bus fare," said David Russell who uses the bus.
The transit agency is asking for more, weeks after a series of disruptions on the Red Line that led to a rare apology and customers may not be so forgiving.
"I notice that with the Red Line, especially, they have more delays than maybe the Green Line or maybe the Orange and Blue lines," said Imani Fields, a Howard University student who can't afford even a few cents more for fares.
The increased fares would mean another $30 million for Metro's $1.75 billion operating budget. That is money to run more buses, operate the new Silver Line, which opens next year, and other service improvements.
But some passengers want more.
"They need more buses during the day," complained one woman at a bus stop outside the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station.
Raising fares is hard to do when customers don't see a return on their money. But Metro says now they can. It has invested in better lighting at stations. Escalator availability is at a five-year high and on-time performance for buses and trains have improved.
"If it's going to a good cause, if it's being used efficiently, then I think it sound wonderful. If it's a few more cents to mismanage and not help the riders, then not so much," said Scott Lamb, who rides Metrorail frequently and has noticed the ongoing improvements.
Fares for parking will go up too by a 25 cents, but those who park at stations near Fedex Field during events will now pay $15 instead of $25 to be more competitive.
Meanwhile, some of Metro's jurisdictions are proposing even higher fares. The proposal will have to go through public hearings and be approved by Metro's board in March. Any fare changes would not take effect until July 1.
Bottom line, riders want to know they are getting their money's worth, and for some, they still need to see more to believe it.
To see all of the full budget proposal:
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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