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Issue: 1240 Date: 5/29/2014
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Public Transit: MetroLink Rate Increases Go Into Effect July 1

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        Starting this summer, it will cost more money to ride some of Metro's public transportation services.

        Metro's Board of Commissioners on Friday approved transit fare increases that will go into effect on July 1. It comes after the agency solicited public feedback on how to raise fares for bus and train services.

        Here's what the fare increase will mean for riders:

        The cost of the one-ride MetroLink train fare will increase from $2.25 to $2.50

        Weekly passes will increase from $25 to $27

        Monthly passes from $72 to $78

        A university semester pass will go from $150 to $175

        The plan won't increase the cost of a bus fare or a two-hour pass. The cost of the Day Pass will hold steady at $7.50, as will the $4.00 Metro Call-A-Ride fare. (Click here to read more information about the fare increase plan.)

        "The fare increase will generate approximately $2.25 million dollars in passenger revenue for Fiscal Year 2015, which is money essential to sustain current transit operations," said John Nations, Bi-State Development Agency President & CEO, in a statement.

        Metro chief operating officer Ray Friem said in an interview that his agency increases its fares every other year to pay for rising equipment, fuel personnel costs. He said several hundred people participated in the public comment process to decide how to raise the fares.

        "It's a service industry. So we have a lot of employees who provide this, and the costs of those employees do go up. But so does fuel, so do bus parts," Friem said. "And, realistically speaking, we're trying to have these smaller, but regular fare increases."

        In past years, Friem said, Metro would hold off on fare increases for years and then hit riders with jarring increases. He also said that the fare increases maintain a proper "ratio between user fees and local taxpayer dollars that's supporting the system."

        He also said having gradual rate increases help the public transit service maintain its system without being too surprising to customers.

        "There are a lot of people who use this system that are struggling. And we are aware of that," Friem said. "And so we have to balance their needs against the ability to maintain the service and the product in the first place."

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