MTA to raise fare for bus, Metro 7 percent March 10


Despite protests from some riders, the Mass Transit Administration has decided to implement the full 7 percent fare increase it proposed in December, MTA officials said yesterday.

Most Baltimore bus and Metro riders will have to pay another dime to ride beginning Sunday, March 10. Discount senior and student fares will rise by a nickel; the cost of transfers and monthly passes will not change.

It will be the second fare increase in 15 months. And the MTA expects to seek another increase within about a year.

Kathy Kohl, a spokeswoman for the MTA, said the higher fares, originally supposed to take effect tomorrow, were postponed until March 10 because Gov. William Donald Schaefer did not give his final approval until Thursday.

There was not enough time to advertise the new fares and "put up all the signs" advising riders on buses and Metro trains, Ms. Kohl said.

Some riders protested the new fares at a series of public hearings held earlier this year. The $1.10 base fare will put Baltimore among the nation's more expensive cities for transit riders, according to December 1990 figures supplied by the MTA.

Residents of the Washington suburbs will not be affected, generally. Transit in that region is provided by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, not the MTA.

Ronald J. Hartman, MTA administrator, has said a $1.10 base fare was needed to ensure compliance with the Maryland General Assembly's requirement that 50 percent of all transit operating costs be raised through fare box revenues.

Officials of the MTA expect the higher fares to reduce ridership slightly but still to raise about $3.3 million additionally every year. MTA operations were expected to cost $141 million during the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Mary Pat Clarke, Baltimore City Council president, had helped lead opposition to raising the senior citizen discount fare from 35 cents to 40 cents.

think it is a shame that senior citizens are going to have a fare increase, especially in light of several commuter fares being untouched," she said yesterday. The cost of monthly bus passes, she noted, remains frozen at between $38.50 and $91.

Ms. Clarke called on the legislature to revise its requirement that riders pay half of MTA's operating costs to exempt service provided to seniors and freeze their fare.

"We keep nickel-and-diming them to death," she said. "It doesn't bring the state enough money to quibble about."

Several years ago, the MTA adopted a policy of seeking frequent small fare increases rather than larger, infrequent raises to avoid major drops in ridership.

Ms. Kohl said yesterday fares might rise again next year. "It will be about another year or so that we think we can hold off," she said.

New bus and Metro fares


The following fares will rise:

Current .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. As of March 10

Base fare for buses and Metro $1.00 .. .. ..$1.10

Senior citizen, handicapped fares .35 . . .40

Student fares .70 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .75

Adult tokens .95 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1.05

10-trip tickets 9.50 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 10.50

There will be no change in the cost of the following:

Monthly passes (varies by zone, level of service) $38.50-$91

Transfers .10

Tourist passes 3.00

Charge for travel between zones:

1-2 .. .. .. .. .. .10 3-4 .. .. .. .30

2-3 .. .. .. .. .. .15 4-5 .. .. .. .30 Below is a list of the cities with the highest base transit fares, as of December 1990.

Philadelphia $1.50*

Miami 1.25

New York 1.15

Los Angeles 1.10

Pittsburgh 1.10

Baltimore 1.10**

Atlanta 1.00

Detroit 1.00

Chicago 1.00

Milwaukee 1.00

San Diego 1.00


*Fare is for bus service only; rail fare is 75 cents.

**Fare effective 3/10/91

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