Friday, October 26, 2007

DC Metro Transit fare could skyrocket: does it make any sense?

I lived in the DC area from 1988 to 1997, and then moved back in 2003. In the 1990s, there were few problems with Metro service. Since I have come back, there have been frequent delays (I get the automated emails on some lines), single tracking, and threats of pulling late night service, which would affect nightclub business.

Yesterday (Oct. 25) the Metro board suggested a 30 cent minimum fare increase, from 1.35 to 1.65. The story (by Lena H. Sum and Anne E. Marimow) in The Washington Post is “Subway Fares May Rise 30 cents: Metro’s Proposal on Increase Heads for Public Debate.” Indeed that is needed. The link is this.

Weekly fares for some commuters could raise by $15 or so. So many say that, even in today’s world of $92 oil, it is cheaper to drive.

Others argue that city or suburban dwellers should not be subsidized by tax-supported transit. But it seems that one way or another, long commutes are subsidized somehow. And we stay in Iraq. And we watch greenhouse gases go up.

When I left Minneapolis in 2003, the light rail Hiawatha line was just being completed. Here is their link.

I recall the battle over "saving" the 35-cent NYC transit fare in 1973, and then it went up anyway to 50 cents in September 1975. (Sundays had half fare then). Look where it is now.

Could all the transit systems get together and use the same Smart Cards in any city? You can use the Metro smart card to get all the way to BWI airport in Baltimore (from the Green Line).

Metro parking rates may also rise over $1 a day, and they already require Smart Cards to exit.

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