ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–The cost of riding Metrolink and Metro buses is expected to go up soon, and riders aren’t happy about it.
“It’s to maintain current operating levels,” said Metro President and CEO John Nations, “Our costs continue to escalate. Obviously, you’re seeing it in fuel prices. We consume about 115,000 gallons of fuel a week.”
How the fare hikes will be distributed has yet to be unveiled. That could happen during public hearings planned for April. The goal is to capture an additional $1.8 million in fare hikes from riders.
News of the planned hikes was met with head-shaking disapproval among passengers, many of them the working poor, waiting for a train-bus connection near union station.
“Outrageous, it’s already high enough,” said one woman.
A man hurrying to catch a bus wondered why fares should go up now, when more people are riding public transit. “I don’t see why they should (raise fares), because gas is going up, and now they have more customers. That’s greed.”
Nations says even though passenger volume goes up with the price of gas, revenue does not. Many commuters purchase discounted fare packages that fill the seats, but fail to make a significant impact on revenue, he said.
Right now one-way fares are $2.25 for Metrolink and $2 for buses. Nations says the proposed hike would likely shave some of the savings off discount fares. He’s not ruling out raising other fares.
Metro’s board of directors will decide on the budget that includes calls for fare hikes at its meeting on March 31.