ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Metropolitan Council is seeking public opinion on potential transit fare hikes.
Transit officials are asking for input on two different rate hike scenarios – 25 cents and 50 cents.
The proposed increase would affect all regional and suburban services including Metro Transit buses, light rail, Northstar commuter rail and Metro Mobility. The increase would be the first fare hike since October 2008.
With a deficit of $74 million and potential cuts in state funding, the council is seeking ways to raise funding and avoid cuts to services. An increase the transit rates is estimated to cover 20 percent of the projected deficit.
Before any proposed increase can be implemented, federal law requires a period of public hearings for transit users to voice their opinion. The upper limit of the proposed rate hikes must be available to the public, and fare increases, when implemented, can not exceed the proposed amount.
The required public comment period began April 13 and will be open until June 26. The Council voted Wednesday to approve 12 public hearings and meetings in locations across the Twin Cities metro area. Specific dates and locations can be found here.
There will also be transit officials at busy bus stops and light rail stations throughout the comment period to talk with transit users and answer questions about the proposed fare hikes.
“It’s a critical time for us to hear from customers and constituencies in the region as we weigh this decision,” Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck wrote in a statement. “Attend a public meeting, fill out our survey, and let us know how a fare increase would affect you. Every experience is important for us as we balance a fare increase with impacts on our most transit-dependent and vulnerable customers.”
The council will make a final decision in July, and fare hikes would be implemented this fall.