Area commuters already grappling with high gas prices got some more bad news Sunday: The Maryland Transit Administration is raising fares for its most popular services by 10 cents as it resumes scheduled hikes postponed during the pandemic.
The fare increases are part of the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013, the agency said in a news release.
The act requires that every two years core service fares are to increase by at least 10 cents. The increase was supposed to take effect in June 2021, but Gov. Larry Hogan postponed it for a year by using federal pandemic relief money.
The 2013 act that set a 10-cent increase every two years is based on the Consumer Price Index, but because of the pandemic and the extra funds that Maryland had available, Hogan decided to postpone the price increase.
After a year’s postponement, the increase went into effect on June 26, as was scheduled when the increase was delayed in June 2021.
The increase in price affects the MTA’s Local Bus, Light RailLink, and Metro SubwayLink services. Those fares haven’t increased since 2019.
The increase in ticket prices for the MTA comes as ridership numbers remain well below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 despite a slight uptick in recent months.
The MTA’s Metro SubwayLink system in particular has struggled, with ridership numbers staying relatively stagnant since they first decreased in March 2020. In February 2020, the SubwayLink had around 612,000 uses. By April 2020, that number was down to just over 102,000.
In April 2022, two years later, the SubwayLink had about 113,000 users.