CommunityWilliam J. Ford

Metro Proposes Another Fare Decrease

Metro officials are proposing several changes in fares and late-night service to bring back riders after the coronavirus pandemic decreased ridership by at least one-third.

The proposed changes in Metro documents released Tuesday include a $1 bus fare, $2 late-night rail fares after 9:30 p.m. and implementing a $4 flat fee for MetroAccess trips.

The transit agency also recommends for eligible low-income riders to receive discounts equivalent to seniors and those physically disabled.

“Fare policy and initiatives have the potential to increase ridership, advance equity and improve the customer experience,” according to a staff report prepared to discuss Thursday before the agency’s Finance and Capital Committee. “While future ridership and revenue remain uncertain as Metro and the region recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Metro has the opportunity to update its fare policy principles and to consider additional concepts for fare changes.”

The report notes these proposals would be reviewed again in November to prepare the fiscal year 2023 budget.

Metro’s board of directors already approved discounted fares and an extension in service hours, including a $2 Metrorail flat rate on the weekends, reducing a seven-day regional bus pass from $15 to $12 and closing Metrorail stations at midnight Sunday through Thursday and at 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Due to the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, customers have been slow to return, though, with some workers telecommuting and choosing to drive to their jobs.

The agency received nearly $763 million in federal funding towards this fiscal year’s $2.1 billion budget.

The agency’s 10-year, $15.5 billion capital improvement plan to refurbish 20 rail stations is another way to entice customers.

Earlier this month, four stations in Prince George’s County along the Green and Yellow lines — West Hyattsville, Prince George’s Plaza in Hyattsville, University of Maryland in College Park and Greenbelt — reopened after nearly an entire summer of platform work and other safety improvements.

Work at those and 13 other stations in the D.C. region include new LED lights, slip-resistant tiles and stainless steel shelters where people can charge cellphones.

Renovation work at the last three stations in Prince George’s — Cheverly, Landover and New Carrollton — are scheduled to begin next summer.

William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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