- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 28, 2012

About 50 Occupy D.C. members and Metro workers protested the upcoming fare increase outside the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority Board meeting on Thursday.

The increased fares, which begin Sunday, were approved by the board in April. The increase, which is the first in two years, raise fares during peak hours 5 percent, and off-peak fares increase 75 cents. Customers using paper tickets instead of SmarTrip cards will pay a new $1 surcharge.

Protesters were concerned about the effect of higher transportation costs for the working poor.

“This metro system wasn’t built for the poor,” Angela Wolfguthrie, a Montgomery County schoolteacher said.

Instead of raising fares, protesters argued that businesses who benefit from Metro and the government should provide subsidies.

Currently, WMATA is subsidized by Virginia, the District and Maryland, as well as the federal government, according to Metro spokeswoman Caroline Lukas. The system will be receiving about $1.6 billion this year. Metro has not explored the option of having private business provide funding, she said.