Sunday, January 6, 2008

Riding the 42 Costs a Little More Now; For Some

Sunday January 6, marks the day that Metro enacts its largest fare hike ever. It doesn't affect most who either a) don't ride Metrorail or Metrobus or b) only ride the bus and have SmarTrip Cards. The cost to ride the 42, and most other local Metrobuses increases to $1.35 from $1.25. SmarTrip Card users incur no increase. Those using cash pay the full increase riding the bus. Rail to bus transfers are still 35 cents with SmarTrip, but paying by cash costs a dime more. January 2009 should be interesting; Metro will get rid of paper transfers all together.

Those riding the rails during the rush hour get punched in the gut, regardless of how you pay. The lowest rush hour fare (what Metro calls "regular" fare) shoots up to $1.65 from $1.35. For my work commute, that adds up to an extra $144.00 a year. Not too bad considering what my counterparts who travel from Shady Grove, Springfield, Vienna and other far-out stations have to deal with. They are taking the hardest hits with rail fare and parking fees. The highest one way Metrorail fare rises to $4.50. That's one way!

I tried to be nosy and check out other rides on the 42 and S2 buses I rode on today. It seemed to me that many who paid cash were paying with one bill and one coin; still $1.25. Perhaps the drivers were practicing some sort of leniency. I guess the big day is tomorrow.