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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Budget shortfall prompts Metrolink fare increase


Metrolink’s board has approved a 7 percent fare increase to help close a $13 million funding gap in the agency’s fiscal-year 2013 budget.

The fare increase, which will go into effect July 1, “is a last resort” to continue operating safely without cutting service, said Metrolink Chairman Richard Katz in a prepared statement.

“We've streamlined our operations and continue to keep the majority of our costs and headcount flat, despite a nine percent increase in ridership," said Katz. “Last year, we were able to delay an increase to passenger fares and member agency subsidies while increasing train service by 14 percent.”

Metrolink officials attributed the agency’s rising costs to a labor negotiation settlement and a 56 percent increase in fuel costs over the past two years.

Of the $13 million funding gap, the fare increase will generate $4.5 million. The increase is independent from the board’s decision in 2004 to restructure fare policy from zone-based to mileage-based fares over a 10-year period.

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More News from 5/31/2012