LOS ANGELES (CBS) — One of the key benefits to riding Metrolink may soon be a thing of the past.

The 78 percent increase in the costs of diesel fuel is forcing Metrolink to consider hiking ticket prices between 5 and 9 percent across the system, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Metrolink needs to cover a $13 million revenue gap caused mostly by a $4.7 million jump in fuel costs over the last two years. The agency says other major costs they didn’t previously budget for include: $3.2 million in higher labor costs and $2.5 million in retiree health care costs, the Daily News reported.

To prepare riders for the fee hikes, Metrolink has scheduled workshops in advance of the May 30 public hearing throughout its service area. At the workshops, members of the public will get a chance to learn about the fare increase’s impact to them and submit comments.

May 21, Santa Ana Metrolink Station, 1000 E. Santa Ana Blvd. in Santa Ana, 5th floor, from 6 to 8 p.m.
May 22, Larry Chimbole Cultural Center, 38350 Sierra Highway in Palmdale, Joshua Room, 6 to 8 p.m.
May 23, Oxnard Public Library, 251 South A. Street in Oxnard, Meeting Room B, 6 to 8 p.m.
May 24, The Gateway Center, One Gateway Plaza in Los Angeles, Union Station Conference Room, 6 to 8 p.m.
May 29, City of San Bernardino Council Chambers, 300 North D Street in San Bernardino, 6 to 8 p.m.

Metrolink CEO John Fenton says the agency managed to delay the increase to passenger fares, while increasing service by 14 percent.

“A fare increase is a last resort to be able to maintain current service levels,” Fenton said in a statement.

The proposed fare increase, Fenton said, only covers a portion of the funding gap. Metrolink member agencies are also being asked to increase their subsidies.

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