Metro hosts public hearing on proposed fare hikes

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ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A proposed fee increase for daily light-rail users as well as long-term bus and train riders is the topic of a public hearing Tuesday night at Metro headquarters in St. Louis.

The public transit agency is considering a 25-cent hike per train trip and increases of $6 to $8 for monthly bus and train passes as part of an effort to raise an additional $2.2 million.

Metro is hosting a two-hour public meeting starting at 5 p.m. at 707 North First Street. A formal presentation on the proposed fee increases is scheduled for 6 p.m. The agency says it will accept public comments at the meeting as well as in writing through the end of the week.

A fare increase is necessary to meet Metro transit’s fiscal year 2015 budgeted goal of a five percent increase in passenger revenue. All of these options would generate an additional $2.25 million in annual revenue. Based on public feedback, Metro will adopt one of the fare increase options or a modified version of the three options.

Option 1 increases MetroLink one-ride fare from $2.25 to $2.50 (+$0.25); weekly pass from $25 to $26 (+$1); monthly pass from $72 to $80 (+$8) and semester pass from $150 to $165 (+$15).

Option 2 increases MetroLink one-ride fare from $2.25 to $2.50 (+$0.25): weekly pass from $25 to $27 (+$2); monthly pass from $72 to $78 (+$6) and semester pass from $150 to $175 (+$25).

Option 3 would not change the MetroLink one-ride fare; weekly pass from $25 to $28 (+$3); monthly pass from $72 to $80 (+$8) and semester pass from $150 to $175 (+$25).

The public meetings will be offered in an open house format with no formal presentations made. Metro staff will be available to discuss the fare increase options. The public hearing will include a formal presentation that will begin at 6 p.m., with the remaining time available for public comment. Residents who are not able to attend one of the public meetings are urged to participant and provide feedback online at www.metrostlouis.org/FaresPasses/FareIncrease2014.aspx

They may also comment on the proposed fare increase options by calling 314-982-1422, by email to FareIncrease2014@metrostlouis.org, or by mail to:
Bi-State Development Agency/Metro
Attn: Planning – Fare Increase 2014
707 North 1st Street
St. Louis, MO 63102

Public comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 4, 2014.
Bi-State Development Agency/Metro’s fiscal year 2015 operating budget is 3.6 % higher than it was in 2014 because of increases in the price of services and products like diesel fuel. All of Metro transit’s revenue sources, including local sales taxes and passenger revenue, must grow to continue to sustain the current service level.

Regular and modest fare increases are important to the long-term health of the transit system. Fare increases of about five percent approximately every two years are essential to continue the implementation

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