Although some Metro Transit fares will rise, bus riders save a quarter on many routes thanks to last-minute funding added by the Minnesota Legislature.
The Metropolitan Council, which governs Metro Transit, had approved fare hikes of up to 50 cents per route, anticipating funding cuts. However, in late May, the legislature reduced those cuts by $5.5 million over four years, allowing the Met Council to lessen fare hikes.
Rush-hour express fares, expected to increase as much as 50 cents per ride, will go up 25 cents Aug. 1 (not July 1 as originally planned). Fares on other express routes and local rush-hour service - once slated to rise 25 cents to $2 - will remain at $1.75.
Also, 31-day express-hour rush-hour passes, once slated to rise from $84 to $104, will increase to $95. All other 31-day pass prices will remain the same.
Rush hour will still be extended, from 3-6:30 p.m. instead of the previous 3:30-6:30 p.m.
One Downtown route - the 365 between Downtown and St. Paul Park and Cottage Grove along Highway 61- will be preserved thanks to the new funds.
Bus passengers must still cope with reduced service. Thanks to the new state budget, the Met Council cut Metro Transit service 5 percent this year, mostly suburban routes, many to Downtown. Despite the added funding, the overall service cuts remain. Routes will be monitored for potential readjustment.