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Join in noon discussion

Travelers, I was away last week, but we'll resume our regular Monday discussion at noon.

I'm curious what your take is on the idea of balancing Metro's budget through a fare increase and service cuts. I missed the Metro board meeting, covered in The Post by Lena H. Sun. The transit authority staff gave the board and public no specifics about fare increases proposals, but Sun said that transit officials are recommending that more than half of the anticipated budget gap, or $92 million, be made up through higher fares.

On the other side of the equation, this was Metro's list of some service cut options:
-- Reduce bus and rail service on some holidays and holiday-related days (i.e. the day after Thanksgiving) to be more in line with ridership.
-- Eliminate bus service that overlaps local jurisdictional service (like Ride On and Fairfax Connector).
-- Eliminate low-ridership bus service.
-- Increase the intervals between trains and buses.
-- Close some station mezzanines and rail stations during periods of low ridership.
-- Modify late-night rail and bus service.
-- Begin rail service later in the mornings.

Drivers, I noted in The week ahead in traffic and transit that the Virginia Department of Transportation has increased the use of ramp meters on I-66 inside the Beltway. Today, VDOT started using them to control traffic flow in both directions during rush hour.

That led me to post a question for you on our Taken for a Ride discussion group: What travel innovation has helped you the most? I'm looking for your perspective on what public agencies or private companies did over the past few decades to make your travels easier. I'm thinking, not much, but there have been innovations in design and technology. What made the most difference to you?

[Here's the link to the noon discussion. Use this link if you'd like to submit a question or comment in advance.]

By Robert Thomson  |  December 7, 2009; 10:56 AM ET
 | Tags: Dr. Gridlock  
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"Eliminate bus service that overlaps local jurisdictional service (like Ride On and Fairfax Connector)."

I always hate this idea because it seems too often that there is no communication between WMATA and the other jurisdictions. WMATA will decide to cancel a bus because there is a Ride-On bus covering similar service, but Ride-On will often have that bus slated to be canceled or the service scaled back already!

I also hope they do not cut back the hours of late night service. I think a better solution would be to space out the intervals of the trains late at night (instead of every 20 minutes every 30 minutes).

Also, I am wary about having holiday service for buses on Black Friday. Too many people who work in retail in this area rely on buses to get them to work and most holiday buses run on a Sunday or Saturday schedule which can be very limiting. Holiday service should be in effect for metro rail on that day though.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | December 7, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

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