County Executive Marc Elrich is recommending that standard Ride On fares be set at $1 and the continuation of fare-free programs such as Kids Ride Free and Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Ride Free.
The recommendations follow the completion of a fare equity study requested by Elrich and funded by the County Council earlier this year. Last week, the council extended the system’s fare-free holiday until Jan. 1 due to the continuing pandemic.
“Reducing Ride On fares helps our low- and fixed-income residents who often must travel by transit,” Elrich said in a press release. “It helps address equity gaps and supports public transit, which is good for our environment. This approach balances benefits and costs, and these benefits primarily accrue for populations we want to support.”
The study considered four possible scenarios for Ride On:
- Zero fare system for all riders, every day
- Zero fare for all riders on Saturdays/Sundays/Holidays
- Reduced standard fare of $1 (compared to the baseline $2 fare), and
- Offer reduced fares based on a low-income or means-tested program.
In addition, the study looked at transit systems operating in the region as well as zero or reduced fare programs in Kansas City, Mo., Denver, Albuquerque, Salt Lake City and San Mateo, Calif., as well as 22 systems around the country that have similar operational characteristics.
While a change to a $1 standard fare could be instated immediately, WMATA told the Department of Transportation that it would take at least 60 days to take effect in the Smarttrip system.
The County Council intends to schedule a public hearing on the study and its recommendations.
“2008 06 03 – 2228 – Rockville – Ride On Bus on Research Blvd” by thisisbossi is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0