Don't get us wrong. The fare increase is reasonable — at least it was in the context of how it was originally proposed. A tax on the working poor is less than ideal (and that's what a fare increase, particularly on certain lines, essentially represents), but the base bus fare of $1.60 hasn't been raised in 12 years and is low compared to peer cities. Raising it a dime is better than the alternative of trimming routes, frequency or operating hours. Plus, what will be coming out of local pockets could end up going right back into them — the Red Line represents a $2.9 billion investment, thousands of jobs and far better access to major employment centers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Woodlawn to Charles Center and downtown and Johns Hopkins Bayview on the east side.