Metro may hike fares

A year after price increase, fares may rise again

It may be necessary to raise Metro fares next summer to keep the transportation system operating, although fares just increased this summer, according to Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

The most recent fare hike, from $1.10 for a basic one-way fare to $1.20, went into effect in July. This was the first price increase that the Metro Board of Directors had approved since 1995, a Metro press release said.

Metro officials are now contemplating another fare increase to cover rising costs and a projected budget deficit of between $60 and $80 million by the end of the fiscal year, according to the Washington Post.

Farbstein said that no increases have been proposed to the board yet. However, "There are talks that there may need to be fare hikes next year," she said.

The prospect of a fare increase has generated mixed opinions among AU students.

"If they have to raise fares to cover their costs, I respect that," sophomore Abigail Glenn-Chase said. "It's a really nice Metro system."

However, senior Juan-Carlos Latalladi is outraged at the thought of yet another increase.

"I rely on the Metro for my daily commute, and another fare increase would make my commute unaffordable," he said.

If a fare increase were to occur, it would most likely take effect next July 1, according to The Washington Post. A Metro press release said that the next fare increase would be fewer than the recent 10-cent rise.

While the Metro system was completed in 1976, its aging infrastructure is starting to require repairs and replacements that were previously unnecessary-particularly for trains, escalators and elevators, according to a Metro press release.

A number of trains have already been replaced, and by 2005 all trains in service will have been replaced, said the release, which estimated the total investment in new trains to be $129 million.

Metro's General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Richard A. White said that, although the decision to increase fares this summer was difficult, "It will ultimately ensure that the Washington metropolitan region will continue to have the best transit system in the world."

The fare increase would be instituted to further cover Metro's budget shortfall, according to an article in The Washington Post.

"I would be fine with another increase if they extended their nighttime operating hours to something more convenient to students returning from bars and clubs," sophomore Thalia Theodoratos said.

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