Bus passengers in Portland, Falmouth and Westbrook will pay 20 percent more for a full fare bus rides starting on April 1. However, officials have scaled backed proposed increases for 10-ride tickets and monthly passes.

The directors of Greater Portland Transit District Metro voted today unanimously to approve a 2010 budget that includes the fare increases as well as increased taxpayer subsidy of 3.4 percent.

The changes are aimed at closing a projected budget shortfall of nearly $300,000.

The full fare will increase from $1.25 to $1.50, and the monthly pass from $37.50 to $40. The board had originally proposed increasing the monthly pass to $45. But the board today voted 5-2 to lower the increase.

The League of Young Voters, which urged supporters to attend public hearings, argued that keeping the cost of the monthly pass affordable would make it easier to increase ridership among commuters.

“We applaud the Metro board for voting the right way,” said Hilary Frenkel, field organizer for the League.

There are roughly 1,100 people who have monthly passes.

The 10-ride ticket will increase from $11 to $13.50. The original proposal would have increased it to $14.

The board also increased the subsidy from the three-member communities by more than $92,000.

Portland will pay $2,302,233, an increase of $74,901.

Westbrook will pay $370,044, an increase of $12,021.

Falmouth will pay $127,486, an increase of $5,548.

Metro is the largest provider of public transportation in Maine. It has eight bus routes serving Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth and the Maine Mall area. Annually, the service provides about 1.5 million one-way trips.

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