By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Starting Sunday, people who depend on public transit will have to dig a little deeper into their pockets.

Metro Transit is raising the fare by 25 cents on its buses and trains.

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For more than a year, people concerned about a fare increase on Metro Transit buses and trains rallied, asking the Metropolitan Council to keep fares where they are.

Fares now range between $1.75 to $3, depending on what type of service and time of day.

Metro Transit says it hasn’t increased fares in almost 10 years, and, come Sunday, it’ll cost a quarter more per ride.

“We expect this to add some revenues,” said Metro Transit spokesperson Howie Padilla. “We also know that this may have an effect on the number of riders.”

While Metro Transit might lose some riders, Padilla says the 25-cent price hike is necessary to pay for the addition of the Green Line, Rapid Bus routes and real-time signs.

“We also wanted to take into consideration the people who are going to be hit most, “Padilla said.

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Because many low-income riders depend on trains and buses, Metro Transit developed a program to help them.

After two pilot programs, the results were positive enough for the Met Council to make the Transit Assist Pass Program permanent.

Now low-income riders can sign up to ride at a discounted rate.

“Now they are only going to pay a dollar,” said Mary Capistrant, an operations supervisor at Metro Transit. “You can see people do the math in their head and realize just how much of a savings that is.”

Metro Transit is working with different organization in the Twin Cities to help riders get a TAP card.

EBT or WIC card holders may be eligible, and you can also sign up through Minneapolis Public Housing.

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There is no cap on the number of people who can get the card and no deadline to enroll.

Reg Chapman