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Metro says fare hike could be smaller than expected

Sunday - 4/8/2012, 12:28pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Metro has announced a new budget forecast for next year that could lead to a smaller fare hike than originally expected.

Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles announced that they will need $16 million less than originally anticipated for next year's budget because of an improved ridership outlook and further reductions in expenses.

Metro managers have proposed increasing rail and bus peak fares by about 5 percent. Base fares would rise by 10 to 15 cents for riders who use SmarTrip cards. The current peak-of-the-peak surcharge would be eliminated.

Riders who use paper fare cards would see the biggest change. Metro has proposed a $6 flat fare during peak times and $4 during off-peak times.

Metro's board is expected to consider fare changes at its meeting on April 13. The earliest the changes could take effect is July.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP & the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)