Metro Transit Considers Fare Hikes, Reduced Service

As the Metropolitan Council prepares for a potentially dramatic cut in state funding to local transit operations, it said that possible budget solutions could include a fare increase of up to 50 cents, up to a 25 percent reduction in bus service, and the loss of 500 jobs.

The Metropolitan Council, which operates Metro Transit, on Tuesday said that it is in the process of gathering input on how it should handle a potentially dramatic cut in funding. Under budget adjustments that are currently being considered, local transit riders could soon be charged more to ride Metro Transit buses, and there may be a significant reduction in bus service.

The Met Council said in a news release that budget solutions could include a fare increase of up to 50 cents and up to a 25 percent reduction in bus service-with about 130 of the 146 local bus routes either experiencing service reductions or being eliminated. And the cuts could ultimately result in the loss of roughly 500 jobs.

As Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican-led state legislature remain at odds over a budget solution and the government is shut down, the Met Council is set to move forward with plans based on the most recent proposal from the legislature. That plan would cut $109 million in state funding for 2012-2013 transit operations.

The Met Council is holding public meetings on July 6 and 7 to discuss the implications of a possible drop in state funding for transit operations. It said that the meetings will help inform its members and staff as they form more detailed plans in advance of additional public hearings that will be held next month.