VRE Proposed to Increase Prices

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is considering a 3 percent hike in fares. They account for this price increase because of the increase in maintenance costs. The proposed price increase will be implemented on the beginning of the next fiscal year, July 1. The VRE is holding a series of public hearings next month.

The VRE is a commuter and regional railway that has two lines connecting the suburbs to the Metro and D.C. One line connects Haymarket and Burke to D.C., and the other line connects Spotsylvania and Woodbridge to D.C. The daily ridership averages around 17,500 people a day.

This increase would mean that the popular Amtrak Step-up ticket would increase from $5 to $7. In addition, general fares would also increase. For example, a single ride ticket from Zone 9, Spotsylvania, to Zone 1, Union Station, would jump from $9.50 to $11.90. The monthly pass for Zone 9 will increase from $318.10 to $327.60.

Sophomore Abby Heimbach said, “I think the price hike is fair if they are improving the railway and keeping it safe for commuters, but the increase from $5 to $7 is a lot for commuters who are taking it two ways for five days a week.”

However, this increase is disagreed by many. Junior Min Hwang believes that increasing the price would discourage people from riding the trains, “leading to an increase in traffic issues in the DC region.”

The last price hike the VRE adopted was last year. It was a 4 percent increase on all general fares. The hike was to compensate for the decrease in state funding, which dropped by 1 million dollars. In addition, the increase was to offset increased operational costs.

Eight public hearings will be held in March in Northern Virginia.