WASHINGTON — Liz Murphy’s commute is about to get more expensive if a proposed Metrorail fare increase goes into effect.
"It would be a lot," Murphy said, who rides from Bowie to Arlington for work. "It would be punitive, I think, for me."
Metro is proposing a trio of fare increases as part of its new budget. At rush-hour, Metro wants to increase the base fare from and the maximum you’d pay for a rush-hour ride. Metro is also proposing an increase to the distance rate that makes up all fares, regardless of when you ride.
Murphy’s ride from New Carrollton to Court House Metro would jump from $5.45 to $5.90 under the new proposal, a 45-cent increase each way. That same round trip every workday for a year would add up to a $234 increase.
Metro hasn't raised fares since 2017, but WMATA board member Christian Dorsey said in October that agency leaders should "look at our fare structure" instead of an across-the-board fare hike.
"I never want to be in the business of raising fares just to meet a budget number," Dorsey, who represents Virginia on WMATA’s board, said.
Metro said it needs to find $194 million in savings to balance its new budget, while riders are trying to figure out how to balance theirs.
"I think you have to raise fares every now and then, but I think you have to look at how much," Murphy said.
Metro is proposing lowering some fares. On weekends, Metro wants a $2 flat fare. All of these ideas need the approval of Metro’s board. It could make a decision by the end of the year and changes could go into effect next July.