Metro Council approves fare increase to go into effect this fallby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio,
Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
Twin Cities — Starting in October, riders on Metro Transit buses and trains will pay 25 cents more for their commutes.
The Metropolitan Council voted today to approve across-the-board fare hikes. The new fares will be $1.75, $2.25 or $3.00, depending on the service and time of day. Fares for Metro Mobility will also go up. The last fare increase was more than two years ago.
The Council voted not to extend the morning rush hour by 30 minutes, which would have imposed rush-hour fares starting at 5:30 a.m.
Met Council chair Peter Bell says the fare hikes are necessary to offset the high cost of oil and a shortfall in tax revenues. But he says the council voted to keep the fare increase at $0.25 to keep transit affordable.
"There is a legitimate concern about the impact this will have on low-income populations and the transit dependent portion of our population, which is one of the reasons why we kept the increase at only $0.25," Bell said. "We were considering an increase of $0.50."
Bell says about a third of the money to operate the transit system comes from the fare box.
Met council officials say that without the fare increase, they expect a budget shortfall of $15 million, despite increased ridership.
Dan Olson reports and produces Minnesota Sounds and Voices for MPR News.