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Posted at 12:09 PM ET, 01/13/2011

Metro could consider sponsored names

By Ann Scott Tyson

Metro estimates it will pay about $7.3 million in extra overtime in fiscal 2012 due to shortage of bus drivers and rail operators, Metro officials said at a finance committee meeting of its board of directors this morning.

"We are actually feeling the pain in that," Metro Chief Financial Officer Carol Kissal said of bus driver vacancy rate.

"We are probably 12 months behind in getting to a reasonable vacancy rate for bus drivers and rail operators," Kissal said. Experienced bus drivers make up Metro's pool of train operator candidates.

The figures came as Metro Interim General Manager Richard Sarles presented a proposed $1.4 billion dollar budget for fiscal year 2012 to Metro board.

Metro's proposed operating budget calls for an additional $72 million in contributions from local jurisdictions.

What name would you pick for a station? Share your suggestion on our map.

Metro Board chair Peter Benjamin acknowledged that securing $72 million in jurisdictional funding increases for Metro for fiscal 2012 would be "difficult," but that they could be necessary to avoid more far hikes and keep the system in good repair.

"You have put in front of us a series of unpalatable choices," said Board Chairman Peter Benjamin of the proposed budget.

One option for patching the budget floated at the meeting was selling the naming rights of stations, similar to the way corporations pay to name stadiums.

That got some of the commentariate thinking about some tongue-in-cheek station names. Add yours to the comments below or tweet it using the hashtag you see here:

By Ann Scott Tyson  | January 13, 2011; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Transportation Politics  
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As a retired correctional officer who worked lots of overtime when employed, I understand the difficulty in keeping good employees....

It would seem in this economy where people are complaining about the scarcity of jobs, that Metro is not being aggressive enough in hiring...With the decent starting salary and benefits they offer you would think there would be lines of people or floods of job applications...

For starters Metro should have a strict policy on hiring which I hope is in place such as background checks, drug screening, etc...Of course many will not pass intial checks but there are huge numbers of people qualified or well qualified...where are they???? This is the opportunity for Metro to raise the bar and weed out the incompetents now employed who are there only for the paycheck....

Posted by: pentagon40 | January 13, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

What has selling the naming rights of stations have to do with job vacancies other than raising money?????

Those vacancies are still empty!!!!!! Not just for bus and train operators but escalator maint. and other types of vacancies...The overtime syndrome will continue no matter how many stations are renamed unless they fill vacancies....

Posted by: pentagon40 | January 13, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Or they could just run 8 car trains like they promised.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | January 13, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Out of curiosity, I went on WMATA's web site and looked to see what jobs were posted. There is only ONE Metrobus Operator position listed and NO Rail Operator positions listed at all. So someone explain to me why there is a "shortage"?

Posted by: mamadukes01 | January 13, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Pentagon40 is spot on. With the way the economy is I'm was surprised to read this headline. I would also think that having a healthy supply of driver's, would translate to better, more customer-friendly, driver's at WMATA.

Posted by: Hattrik | January 13, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Have some of the transit police do double duty and drive buses and trains. It might even cut down on some of the crime. Or deputize drivers/operators so that they can protect themselves when/if needed.

Posted by: CalmTruth | January 13, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

No, no, corporate names in the system. Disgusting.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 13, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Has it really come to this? Must everything be "corporatized" in some way? Starbucks/Metro Center? Archives-Bank of America-Navy Memorial? Rosslyn, sponsored by McDonald's.

A new low, even for Metro.

Posted by: Nixonin08 | January 13, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Long John Silver Spring station.

Marlow Furniture Largo Town Center station.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | January 13, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Old Spice New Carrollton

Posted by: poncedeleroy | January 13, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Old Spice New Carrollton

Posted by: poncedeleroy | January 13, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

How about Cristal City?

Posted by: Eric12345 | January 13, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Captain Morgan Boulevard

Old Navy Yard

Burger King Street

Nine West Falls Church

Posted by: Eric12345 | January 13, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I just read recently in the paper that potential conductors on the subway must start out as bus drivers.

But in today's economy, it's hard to believe they are having so much trouble hiring.

Posted by: swissmiss150 | January 13, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I am laughing whenever I see someone who is AGAINST this

Metro needs as much money as possible and this is a perfect time to sign a new commercial deal

Who the HELL cares if a sign is on a board at a Metro station? Will your life change with a McDonalds sign hanging above Chinatown's station logo? Huh?

Posted by: Bious | January 13, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Westboro Baptist Falls Church... :)

Posted by: bmp246 | January 14, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Here are some station name suggestions:
Lockheed Martin Pentagon
Patton Boggs Farragut West
Boeing National Airport
Goldman Sachs Capitol South
Phizer Medical Center
Verizon Gallery Place Chinatown
Acella Union Station
Men's Warehouse Suitland
Citigroup Metro Center
Altria Judiciary Square
General Motors Cheverly
KBR Pentagon City
SAIC New Carrollton
Northrup Grumman Federal Triangle
ExxonMobil Dunn Loring Merrifield
Crystal Koons City
Fannie Mae Tenleytown
AES Ballston
Capital One Tysons East
Marriott Grosevenor

The possibilities are endless.

Posted by: proof | January 14, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

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