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WMATA Seeks Public Feedback With Fair Hikes and Service Cuts Looming


Photo: Lilli Werder for The Zebra Press

ALEXANDRIA, VA-Metro is facing an unprecedented $750 million budget shortfall next year. This is the result of several factors, including the end of federal pandemic relief funds, higher costs from inflation, and the fact that ridership numbers have not increased as WMATA expected.

Therefore, the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2025 contains drastic service cuts, fare increases, layoffs, and other measures designed to cut operating costs.

WMATA says in a press release that “[t]he $4.5 billion capital and operating budget proposal provides a worst-case scenario.” Yet the transit agency notes that along with its funding partners, “it is currently working through legislation that may reduce some of the most detrimental fare and service changes proposed.”

WMATA is asking for the public to review next year’s proposed budge and provide feedback HERE.  Comments should be submiited no later than 5 p.m. on March 5.

The potential service cuts and fare hikes can be seen below and apply to not only rail but also buses and MetroAccess, the paratransit service.

Fares

  • Up to 25 percent fare increase
  • 20 percent parking rate increase

Metrobus

  • Eliminate service on 83 of 184 routes
  • Reduce service on 51 of 184 routes
  • Shorten routes with rail service

Metrorail

  • Close 10 lower ridership stations
  • Turn back every other Red Line train at Grosvenor-Strathmore and Silver Spring
  • Turn back Silver Line trains at Stadium-Armory
  • Decrease service on all lines – weekdays every 15 minutes, weekends every 20 minutes
  • Decrease Hours of operation: Close the rail system at 10pm; or
  • Keep existing rail system hours and open earlier and close later weekends: open at 6am on Saturdays and Sundays, close at 2am on Fridays and Saturdays

MetroAccess

  • Reduced service area due to a reduction in fixed route bus service
  • Approximately 20 percent of MetroAccess trips would no longer be served

Metro is currentlty taking steps to reduce the gap in funding like reducing administartive costs and using capital funds to cover maintenance costs. But they need more help. Hence the reason for reaching out to the public.

Multiple public hearings – both in-person and virtual – are scheduled. This is another way for riders to be heard. The schedule follows:

Monday, Feb. 26
Open House at 5 p.m. and Public Hearing begins at 6 p.m.

Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans’ Plaza
1 Veterans Pl
Silver Spring, MD

Nearest rail station: Red Line Silver Spring Station

Bus routes: Metrobus Z6, Z8; Ride On 9, 12, 15, and Flash

Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.
Open House at 5 p.m. and Public Hearing begins at 6 p.m.

Metro L’Enfant Plaza HQ
300 7th Street SW
Washington, DC

Nearest rail station: Blue, Orange, Silver, Green, Yellow lines (L’Enfant Plaza)

Bus routes: Metrobus 32, 36, 52, P6, DC Circulator

Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.
Open House at 5 p.m. and Public Hearing begins at 6 p.m. 

Arlington County Board Room
Ellen M. Bozman Government Center
2100 Clarendon Blvd., Ste. #307
Arlington, VA

Nearest rail station: Orange, Silver lines (Court House)

Bus routes: Metrobus 4B, 38B, ART Bus 41, 77

Thursday, Feb. 29, at 12 p.m.

Virtual only (via telephone or video) on Microsoft Teams*.

To register to speak at the in-person hearings, send an email [email protected], or call 202-962-2511 by noon the day of the hearing. To register to speak during the virtual meeting,  pre-register email your name and organizational affiliation, if any, to [email protected], or call 202-962-2511 by 5 p.m. the day before the hearing. To take part in the virtual meeting by phone,

Registering to speak is not required but strongly recommended. Please be aware that you do not need to download the Microsoft Teams program or have a Microsoft account to join the virtual meeting.call 206-899-2028 during the hearing and enter meeting code 164 729 013.

All of the hearings will be broadcast live on YouTube. Click HERE to watch.

[SEE ALSO: Alexandria School Board’s Jacinta Greene Running for City Council]

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