Residents can weigh in starting today on proposed fare increases for mass transit in St. Louis. The Metro transit agency is considering three options for raising fares this year – one would increase only the costs of weekly, monthly and university semester passes; the second would raise the cost of all passes except day passes; and the third would spread the increase to all fares, including buses and Metrolink.
“The overall fare increase is about 3.8 percent, from the last fare increase which occurred in 2009. So that works out as an annual rate of about one percent, a little over one percent, you know, over time," said Metro Chief Operating Officer Ray Friem.
Just two years ago, voters in St. Louis County approved Proposition A, a half-cent sales tax increase for Metro’s operating expenses. But Friem says this new fare increase is part of the agency’s sustainable long term strategy.
"To keep the system I don’t want to say free from economic peril, but to keep it on solid footing, you need to have regular fare increases, you hope that the sales tax will grow with the economy and that makes sure that the system can operate over a long period of time within the resources that are now allocated for it," Friem said.He said after the Metro board settles on a fare increase plan, the higher fares would go into effect in July.
The public hearings on the fare increase will be held this week:
- East St. Louis City Hall, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., Monday, April 16
- St. Louis City Hall, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 18
- St. Louis County Government Center, 4 p.m. - 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 18
- Metro Headquarters, 707 North First Street, St. Louis, MO 63102, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., Thursday, April 19