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Metro board votes to hold public hearings on fares

WASHINGTON — Metro’s board has voted to hold required public hearings on a proposed fare increase to address a $116 million budget shortfall.

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 rush hour 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 also is proposing a 25-cent increase in parking fees.

After the board’s vote Thursday to move forward, officials said they hope to hold public hearings in February and in March. Metro’s board must approve a budget plan for the 2013 fiscal year by July 1.