BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It hasn’t happened in eight years, but now the cost of getting around on the MTA will increase.
Mike Schuh reports when it will go up and by how much is not yet set. What is certain is the legislature is demanding that the riders share more of the costs.
Right now MTA riders contribute 28 cents to every dollar it takes to run MTA. But legislators want fares to catch up with expenses. They want ticket sales to account for 35 cents of every dollar—a 40-50 cent increase, pushing costs to about $2 a ride.
WJZ took a ride on bus 13, which goes the length of North Avenue. For 50 cents more, that sounds like a rough ride to some.
Sheila Taylor takes four bus rides.
“The 44 to the 36 to the 13,” she said.
She takes more than an hour to get to work.
“I don’t have it, and I don’t know where I’m going to get it either,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s costs per week could go up $5 or more.
“What about me? $5 a week is a lot for me because I don’t work full-time,” she said.
Some are OK with the increase, that is if MTA continues to invest in new buses.
“Like say this particular bus right here,” said a MTA rider. “These buses are really nice to ride in. They really are. I don’t oppose the 50 cent hike.”
But the bottom line is most people don’t have any other options.
“It’s a necessity. As long as they keep the service up,” said a man.
“You can’t change it. There’s nothing you can do about it,” said another rider.
You either pay or you don’t ride.
Last year, rural and Republican legislators tried to push through bills requiring 50 percent of operating costs come from riders. This year, there is more widespread support for meeting a 35 percent goal.
The governor’s office has indicated that any increases would be delayed.