Metro Transit considers raising prices even though it'll probably lose some riders

Officials expect hikes will decrease ridership by about 6 percent.
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Twin Cities officials are looking at upping Metro Transit fares.

Right now, the Metropolitan Council is just discussing options for how to bring in some more revenue. Especially considering they're facing a $74 million budget deficit.

An adult ticket currently costs $1.75 during non-rush hours, or $2.25 if you're taking an Express Bus. During rush hour, it's $2.25 and $3, respectively.

According to Monday's presentation on the matter, the council has come up with three possible pay raise scenarios.

  1. All fares be increased by a flat 25 cents, with pass prices seeing a similar increase.
  2. Local fares be increased by 25 cents and express fares be increased by 50 cents.
  3. The third scenario is just like the second one, only it creates a single express fare category for all time periods.

In all cases, limited mobility and reduced fares would increase by 25 cents and Northstar fares would increase at the same value as the express.

Pages 9-11 of the presentation show how each adjustment is expected to affect ridership and revenue. Each is expected to lose some customers while still bringing in more money.

On average, the council expects ridership to drop by about 6 percent. But over the next two years, the increases will generate between $2.4 and $3.6 million.

The last time Metro Transit raised its prices was 2008.

Minnesota's rails use the honor system – meaning you're supposed to pay, but usually no one is watching. Last year, an audit found that anywhere from 8.3 to 10.4 percent of riders don't even pay. That’s compared to an estimate from 2014 that put the rate of fare evaders between 3.4 and 4.7 percent.

Obviously, people aren't happy about the hikes

The proposed hikes have some people and groups concerned.

Transit for Livable Communities is a nonprofit that supports affordable state and community transit efforts, and members have been sitting in on meetings to oppose the fare increases.

The group posted to Facebook saying it's worried about how this will affect people who rely on Metro Transit to get to work – particularly those who might not be able to afford the increases.

The group has been encouraging people to go to meetings and express their concerns.

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