Metro may delay second fare increase
By Rachel Lippmann
St. Louis – The region's mass transit agency may wait to implement a second fare increase that was scheduled to take effect in July.
Metro's Board of Commissioners discussed the possibility of delaying the increase at the April meeting. A final decision will come later this month when commissioners vote on the agency's budget.
The fares Metro customers pay currently make up about 20 percent of the system's operating budget, agency spokeswoman Dianne Williams said. That's in line with systems and cities of a similar size.
"The other thing you have to think about is, the fact that we've reduced what they're paying for," she said. "Service has been cut. Even though some of it was restored, the second phase of the increase would come at a time where you're asking customers to pay more for less service."
Williams said the passage in November of Proposition A, which will increase the sales tax in St. Louis County and trigger a quarter-cent increase in the city, does not eliminate the need for a fare increase.
"Even though the taxpayer did step up and say, I'm willing to contribute to not just restoring but also building toward the future, that doesn't take away the passenger responsibility to also carry their fair share," she said.
Regular MetroLink and bus fares are scheduled to go up 25 cents in July. That's on top of a 25-cent increase in January 2009. The increases were approved in November 2008, after the failure of that month's attempts to raise the county sales tax.