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Metro plan curbs service cuts

It's Richard Sarles's budget proposal now. The new interim general manager presented his budget proposal to the Metro board Thursday morning.

He outlined a budget plan that emphasizes fare increases over service cuts, but there would be some service cuts. The late night weekend hours would be cut back by an hour (affecting about 2,400 riders), some train runs would be eliminated on each line, and some station entrances would be closed at off-hours.

Sarles said that the fare increases and cuts reflect what the staff and the board heard during the recent public comment period.

The service cuts proposed now are some of the least dramatic among the long list of possibilities included in the menu presented to the public for review. The cuts amount to $8 million, versus the $35 million in cuts proposed in January when then-General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. presented his budget.

Part of the reduction in the new plan would be achieved by tapping money from Metro's capital budget, the one used for long-term maintenance and equipment purchases.

One change on the revenue side would be a 50 cent increase in the daily charge for parking at Metro stations. Adjustments in the rail fare -- besides an overall fare increase -- would add a late-night surcharge and permit a surcharge at a few stations to support improvement projects at those stations.

Metro financial manager Carol Kissal said that the basic fare for MetroAccess paratransit service would remain the same under this new plan. She noted that riders with disabilities said the proposed fare increase would be onerous. But there would be some fare increases based on the distance the MetroAccess rider's trip is from Metro's fixed route system.

There would be some cuts in Metrobus service, which Kissal said target the least-used routes. Bus riders also would have to pay a fare increase.

Here is the current proposal (large PDF).

Here is this morning's story from the Washington Examiner on the proposal.

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By Robert Thomson  |  April 22, 2010; 9:55 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, MetroAccess, Metrobus, Metrorail  
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Comments

closing the system at 2:00 am on friday and saturdays is a horrible idea.

how are the people that are out in the city/arlington/bethesda areas going to get home now from bars?

putting more drunk drivers on the road will be a sure result of this move, not to mention the people who work at this locations will no longer have metro as an option to get home.

this is awful

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | April 22, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I can't wait to see the new fare boards in stations. Off-peak, peak, peak-of-peak, $4 after midnight, +$0.25 for paper cards.

I wonder what "Implement special surcharge of $0.05 for specific capital needs" on slide 23 means?

Posted by: Chris737 | April 22, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Make people pay more for using the subway after midnight on Fri & Sat. They wouldn't mind. Still cheaper than a cab. A cab from DC to Alexandria costs about $23-25.

I heard they wanted to make cuts to the Yellow Line on weeknights & weekends. Yellow Line would go from Huntington to King Street on the weekend & then you'd have to get off & take the Blue Line. Yellow Line would go back & forth from King St to Huntington.

Posted by: uncivil | April 22, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Metro should inoperate the Forest Glen metrorail station as 0-2 people enter or exit the train per stop. It is a complete waste of time for the rest of the commuters on the Red Line and I am sure exhausts much money and unnecessary resources. Are their recommendations just fool-hardy suggestions and ideas? I am sure there are other areas that could change before their so-called analytical recommendations.

Posted by: PostPardon | April 22, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Sack some of the overhead. They're overemployed and overpaid. If they don't like it, fire them and hire motivated employees. With 20% real unemployment there's plenty of qualified people out there.

Posted by: melador | April 22, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I say give some of us the budget, commit to a meeting at Metro, and review everything- staffing to supplies. I guarantee I could find places in that budget that will close the gap. I also guarantee there would be some unhappy station 'managers' when their job is re-classified as a customer service agent, and the salary reduced accordingly. And that is just a start.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | April 22, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh-- and has Metro factored in the closing of the Rhode Island Avenue Parking lot at the end of this month? I hope they remembered to reduce their income--- I mean, it's going to be closed for nearly 18 months at least.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | April 22, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

They need to raise parking to $10 a day, charge during the weekends, and raise it to $30 if you park at stations near FedEx Field or Nats Stadium during game days. They might as well compete with other entities doing the same thing now. Stations that don't get as much traffic need to be closed on the weekends and have reduced hours on the weekdays. Bus fares should probably go up to about $2.00, and they just need to eliminate that Off-Peak fares until the weekend. I think regular fares should probably increase by a dollar.

Posted by: lulu202 | April 22, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Cutting service is one of the best ways to start a spiraling decline to fewer users, less revenues, more services cuts etc. Study the history of many other transit systems to see that.
It is time State and local governments stepped up their contributions. Whether you take transit or not, you benefit from the existence of a healthy transit system. Even a half empty bus takes 20 cars off the road. Transit systems reduce traffic congestion, and air pollution. They give families who could afford it, the option of not buying a second car. They give some people the independent access to jobs and services they otherwise could never reach. Transit is the only way many lower income workers can get to their jobs. These workers grease the wheels of the local economy. The servers, dishwashers, maintenance crews that keep the bars open for the weekend revelers depend on metro to get to their jobs. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that transit systems only benefit those who ride them.

Posted by: meltee | April 22, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

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