Metrobus riders to pay fares again as WMATA navigates budget cuts

Metrobus riders will be required to pay a $2 fare again beginning Jan. 3, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced Thursday.

Metro officials suspended the fare in March, when passengers were required to board through the rear entrance to minimize passenger contact with drivers at the front of the bus, where the ticket collection box is kept. Starting Jan. 3, riders will board the bus via the front entrance and pay for a ticket, which Metro officials said will help the authority navigate the financial toll of the pandemic.

“With everyone wearing masks, shields for operators on every bus, and enhanced daily cleanings, front-door boarding is safe, expands our capacity for more riders and helps us resume some normalcy,” Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld said in a press release. “We also need to collect fares from every rider to keep essential Metro transit employees working and continue to provide essential service.”

WMATA is currently facing proposed budget cuts that would drastically reduce service, including eliminating weekend train service, closing 19 stations, instituting train arrivals every 30 minutes and cutting several bus routes.

The press release states that reinstituting bus fares falls in line with the transit recovery plans in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia.

Congress also passed Monday a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill, which included millions in aid directed for public transportation authorities like WMATA to circumvent the drastic service cuts.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.