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Metro raises bus, train fares again

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The board of the public transit agency Metro voted today to raise fares for bus and light rail service. The last hike in ticket prices was a year ago.

The increase will be gradual. Starting August 22, it'll cost an extra 15 cents for the bus, and another quarter for MetroLink. But by September, 2006 -- when the new South St. Louis County light rail extension is scheduled to open - the train will cost two dollars, and the bus a $1.75.

Critics say the agency is trying to offset cost overruns on the extension project. But Metro transit operations chief Ray Friem says the hikes are only because of the recent spike in diesel fuel prices, "It is two separate pots of money. The construction costs are bonded; they're future tax collections. And diesel fuel is here and now, and is the real reason behind this."

Metro is also phasing out individual bus transfers and plans to offer a 35-cent pass which will let bus riders go anywhere on the system for two hours. Train tickets will also be good for two hours in either direction.