Cincinnati's public bus system says it will have to increase fares in 2005 for the first time in 12 years. Officials of Metro say the increased fares will be necessary because of higher fuel costs, stagnant revenues and likely increases in health care expenses for employees. Metro proposes to increase fares beginning February first. It would boost the charges by up to 50 percent within Cincinnati - where 85 percent of its service is - and doubling or tripling the fares for rides in suburban Cincinnati areas. The agency hasn't increased its base fares since 1993. The proposed increases are subject to approval by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority board, which runs Metro, and the Cincinnati City Council. Revenue from Cincinnati's earnings tax provides half of Metro's 73-point-five million-dollar budget.