Quite frankly Mr/Ms Able Bodied, we need your help.
The fare increase is coming – a double helping to the disabled and elderly who use the Metro Access van service.
Last February a new way of determining fares was put into place. This new way of determining how much it costs raised the average fare for the service 50%! One quarter of all fares charged are now DOUBLE. Our lowest fare is twice the cost of riding the bus.
The most vulnerable are required to pay twice the bus and rail fare.
Fifty-two percent of the people who use Metro Access are low income. It’s kind of a by-product of being old or disabled. In 2011 the disabled unemployment rate was 15%.
And now Metro wants to raise fares again.
A 10 cent raise for you is a 20 cent raise for us.
With the new way of determining fares we don’t just get the bus fare raise, we also get the higher train boarding fare, the new per mile fare** and the station surcharge fee – all rolled into one BIG fare.
(**And just to be absolutely clear: the per mile portion of the fare is figured out as if you had used bus and rail to make your trip not the mileage that going from point A to B on a street map entails. You can’t opt out of the rail portion either-if WMATA thinks your trip should involve rail travel then twice the rail fare is folded in to what you are charged.)
And so – why should you give a damn?
Well 2/3rds of you think that you have less than a 2% chance of ending up needing Metro Access before retirement age. The real chances are closer to 30%. That’s right: 1 in 3 of you will be sitting where I sit. Ten years ago this week, I woke up to my ”new normal” of wheels. Tomorrow or next week it will be your turn.
And then what will you do? Go live with relatives? Impose on friends and family? Live in an institution?
I know this much from personal experience:
1. All the things you need to do today, you will still need to do.
You will still need to get to work, to appointments, to shopping.
2. Bottom line: You only have yourself to depend on.
After “it” happens, everyone will tell you “if you need anything let me know”. And that is true until the novelty wears off. Human nature is what it is.
The reality is the majority of the friends you have today will disappear when you become permanently disabled. Oh, they might hang for a few months or even a year or two but disability is for the rest of your life. It changes every thing you can and can not do. Even with the best of friends: your interests and their interests change.
Your relatives have their own lives- they might be up for giving you the occasional ride – but ask yourself, can you get by on a couple of rides a month?
3. Every shred of independence you can hang on to is important.
Independence lets you maintain a reasonable quality of life. In order to maintain your independence and have a life, you will need affordable transportation. Being able to drive a car is not an option for many types of disabilities. At some point in the aging process driving is no longer an option anyway. Withstanding the weather while waiting for a bus or a train or the crush of riders is not for the frail.
So help your future self, even if you don’t understand why you should help the 27,000 + DC Metro area people who are already here.
Fill out the form below to send an email to the WMATA Board telling them to make Metro Access fares reasonable.
Comment period is over, to those who did respond the community wishes to give you our heartfelt thanks.