Rides on Metro Transit buses and the Hiawatha Light Rail will go up by 25 cents on all regular-route service and by 50 cents for those who use Metro Mobility.
Gerome Keaton held his 17-month-old daughter, Nia, on the Selby/Lake bus 682 as it made its way down Lake Street on Wednesday. Keaton, who depends primarily on bus transportation, had just picked up his daughter from day care because she was ill. The fare increase of 25 cents on most routes will take effect Oct. 1.
The cost of riding a Metro Transit regular-route bus and the Hiawatha Light Rail will go up 25 cents beginning Oct. 1.
Disabled riders who use Metro Mobility will pay 50 cents more, under the plan approved Wednesday. The fare increases also will apply to suburban transit providers such as SouthWest Transit and the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority.
New rates will be $1.75 for non-rush-hour, regular-route service and $2.25 for non-rush hour express bus service. Rush-hour service on regular routes will jump to $2.25 and rush-hour express bus service will climb to $3.
Metro Mobility riders will see fares rise to $3 for non-rush hour trips and $4 during rush hour.
Met Council members rejected a proposal to start the morning rush hour at 5:30 a.m., rather then 6 a.m.
It could be the first round of more fare increases. The Met Council's Peter Bell said another 50-cent increase could go into effect sometime in 2009. He said the fare increases are necessary because of rising labor and health care costs and rising gas prices. Metro Transit uses about 8 million gallons of diesel fuel each year, the Met Council said.
Without a fare increase, the Met Council said it would face a $15 million shortfall for 2009.
The increases come as Metro Transit sets ridership records. In 2007, it provided more than 77 million rides, its highest total in 25 years. The trend has continued this year, with ridership up 7.9 percent over the same period last year.