Metro may cut some rail and bus service
Crowded trains and buses are likely to get more crowded if the budget-balancing recommendations of General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. are approved by the Metro board on Jan. 7
Riders would not have eight car trains. The peak period turnbacks at Grosvenor on the Red Line would be eliminated.
These are some key elements of a plan unveiled Thursday afternoon to deal with what now amounts to a $40 million shortfall in the current Metro budget.
What went wrong: "We overestimated the ridership for this year," Catoe said.
The revenue impact is greater on the rail side, even though the decline is less there than on bus. It costs more to ride the trains.
The service changes, if made, would account for less than 10 percent of the total shortfall. The bigger impact of the recommendations comes in delaying preventive maintenance.
Among the potential service cuts:
-- Hours of the customer call center would be reduced to save $200,000.
-- Bus and rail service reductions would save about $4 million.
The cuts would involve a lengthening of the time between trains and buses. It might be a minute on the trains at rush hour. It might be five or 10 at off peak periods weekdays and on weekends.
The earliest the service cuts could start would be late January, more likely February. They would likely be in effect through the end of Metro's fiscal year in June. The financial situation for the year that starts in July already was known to be bad. Metro anticipates a $175 million budget gap for that year.
Eliminating eight-car trains would not change the stopping point on the platforms. The trains still would go to the front of the platforms, a safety policy instituted this summer when Metro put the trains under the control of their operators rather than the automated train control system.
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