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Metro hearing in Virginia tonight

If you can think of an option for closing Metro's budget gap, it's probably already listed in the expansive documents to be reviewed tonight in Vienna at the first of six public hearings.

I think the Metro board members will listen to what riders have to say -- if only because they seem so unsettled about how to resolve this budget crisis. Any of the most likely choices for raising fares and cutting services would hurt riders.

The question right now is whether riders will show up in sufficient numbers to express themselves. Only a handful of people attended the first hearing on the 2008 fare increases. That was in Reston, and the location might have been a problem. Tonight's is at Oakton High School, 2900 Sutton Road in Vienna. Fill in your starting point on Metro's Trip Planner and get the transit directions. Also, see the Google Map below for the high school's location.

The other hearing in Virginia is set for March 31 at the Arlington County Board Room, third floor, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard.

Let's look at some of the issues of particular interest to Virginians, especially those in the Fairfax area.

-- Among the fare increase proposals is one to impose a surcharge of up to 50 cents for "peak-of-the-peak" rail trips from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m. weekdays.
-- Parking rates could be increased by as much as $1.15 a day.
-- The monthly charge for reserved parking could go from $55 to $65.
-- Eight-car trains at rush hour could be eliminated.
-- The scheduled gaps between trains could be increased from six minutes to eight minutes between 6 and 6:30 a.m.
--MetroAccess service could be reduced to the minimum required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
-- Metrobus service would be curtailed. Follow this link to see the impact on Virginia routes.
-- Metrobus express fares could be increased up to $4 with a SmarTrip card and $4.10 with cash.
-- Metrorail could start operating at 5:30 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. on weekdays and at 8 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. on weekends.

Map shows Oakton High School.

View Larger Map

By Robert Thomson  |  March 22, 2010; 2:40 PM ET
Categories:  Metro , Transportation Politics  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metro budget, Metrobus, Metrorail  
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Next: Pothole-filling progress report


Maybe if they informed the public about these meetings in a better manner people would show up.

If they said over the PA system "21% fare hike proposed for metro - meeting on ___ at ____ - near the ____ metro station" people would go.

Posted by: wpjunk | March 22, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Metro should take a page from the USPS playbook and eliminate weekend service.

Posted by: corrections | March 22, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

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