Governor Authorizes Funds from the American Relief Plan Act to Offset Core Service Fare Increases Required Under 2013 Maryland Law
BALTIMORE, MD (June 21, 2021) As the COVID-19 recovery continues across Maryland and onsite workplaces reopen, the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) will resume full scheduled service on MARC Train and Commuter Bus effective Monday, August 30. Since November 2020, in response to lower ridership while maintaining service for essential workers, MARC has operated under an enhanced “R” schedule, while Commuter Bus has run on an “S” schedule. Both will return to full service schedules.
MDOT MTA is legislatively-mandated to increase fares for Core Service every two years under the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013, which was approved by the Maryland General Assembly. Fares for Core Service were last changed in 2019. The 2013 law mandates that fares increase a minimum of 10 cents or higher every two years based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) calculation. As a result, fares will increase from $1.90 to $2.00 – for Local Bus, Light Rail and Metro Subway. Mobility single-trip fares will increase from $2.10 to $2.20. These new fares will be effective on June 27.
However, to mitigate the continuing economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Larry Hogan has authorized the Department of Budget and Management to allocate funds from the American Relief Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) to offset the impact associated with implementing this legislatively-mandated fare increase. As a result, Core Service riders will continue to pay $1.90 and Mobility riders will continue to pay $2.10 through June 26, 2022.
“I am grateful to Governor Hogan for the strategic use of ARPA funds to directly support transit riders,” MDOT MTA Acting Administrator Holly Arnold said. “Transit is a critical connector of jobs, schools, medical services and amenities, and this fare increase deferral will provide much needed economic relief, especially to our transit-dependent riders.”
Legislatively-mandated fare increases for MARC and Commuter Bus – which had been scheduled for 2020 but were already delayed due to the pandemic under an executive order from Governor Hogan – will go into effect June 27, 2021. Under the 2013 state law, fares for Commuter Bus and MARC are reviewed every five years. The last review was in 2015. The law mandates that when the CPI-U increases over the prior five years, MDOT MTA must increase Commuter Bus and MARC Train fares to the nearest dollar.
Based on the legislatively mandated formula, Commuter Bus and MARC one-way fares will increase $1. Fares on these services vary by zone. Riders can find information for specific routes at mta.maryland.gov. The surcharge for MARC Train fares originating or ending in West Virginia remains unchanged.
Public transit offers a great value for consumers and MDOT MTA monthly fare passes remain a cost-effective option when compared to regular rates. MDOT MTA continues to make significant investments in state of good repair projects to ensure the transit system remains a reliable transportation option for the region.
MDOT MTA’s proposed fall service changes include improved fare options for customers to match riders’ post-pandemic modified commute and travel patterns. New three- and 10-day fare passes would be available for Local Bus, Light Rail, Metro Subway, Commuter Bus and MARC Train. Available through CharmPass app, the passes may be used on consecutive or non-consecutive days, will be valid up to 12 months after the date of purchase, and will be discounted about 15% from a single day pass. For details, go to mta.maryland.gov/servicechanges/fall2021.
MDOT MTA is one of the largest multi-modal transit systems in the United States. MDOT MTA operates LocalLink and commuter buses, Light RailLink, Metro SubwayLink, MARC Train service and a comprehensive Mobility (paratransit) system. MDOT MTA’s goal is to provide safe, efficient and reliable transit across Maryland with world-class customer service. As a participating agency in APTA’s Health and Safety Commitment Program, MDOT MTA is dedicated to keeping our employees and passengers safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more, visit mta.maryland.gov, check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/mtamaryland and follow us on Twitter @mtamaryland.