Metro increases fares, extends hours
Students taking the Metro after July 1 will pay higher fares but enjoy longer service hours, city transportation officials said Thursday.

The Metro Board Budget Committee, facing a $48 million budget deficit, increased the basic boarding fare by 10 cents and the maximum fare by 35 cents, said Lisa Farbstein, a Metro public affairs officer.

The basic fare is for trips up to three miles, while the maximum fare is for trips greater than three miles, according to the Metro Web site. Rush hour fares will also change accordingly. A Metro trip from Foggy Bottom to Pentagon City will now cost $1.20, up from $1.10, while a trip to Shady Grove will cost $3.60, up from $3.25.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the Metro will close at 3 a.m., and will open on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 7 a.m. Currently the Metro closes at 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and opens at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings.

“Party Animals” find a permanent home
Fifteen “Party Animal” sculptures are coming out of hibernation this spring after the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities chose the animals’ permanent homes last week.

The sculptures, holdovers from a fall auction that saw more than 200 donkeys and elephants sold to public and private bidders, are being donated to federal buildings and places that could not afford to participate in the auction, The Washington Post reported.

The animals can be found at the entrances of D.C. public school headquarters, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and the Washington Convention Center, The Post reported.

The animals are being temporarily displayed in 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. while the committee made its decision.

White House, Capitol reopen doors
District tourists and others will once again be able to visit the U.S. Capitol after it reopened its doors to tours last week.

Rep. Bob Ney (D-Ohio), chairman of the Committee of House Administration, said the decision to reopen the building comes after the lowering of the terrorist threat level and the cessation of hostilities in Iraq, The Washington Post reported.

“I am particularly pleased that we can make this announcement at the height of the busy spring tourist season,” Ney told The Post.

The White House, also closed to visitors during the heightened alert, resumed its tours for school, youth, military and veterans’ groups last week, the Post reported.

On March 20, as the campaign in Iraq began, ticketed tours were suspended indefinitely, although staff-led tours continued at the Capitol, The Post reported.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), a member of the Select Committee on Homeland Security, has proposed the creation of a task force that would explore ways to make the city more accessible to tourists during elevated terror alerts.
-Michael Barnett

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