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Old 01-16-2010, 12:54 PM
Howard Hartman Howard Hartman is offline
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Default Metro Seeks Public Input on Options to Close FY2010 Budget Gap



Metro Seeks Public Input on Options
to Close FY2010 Budget Gap

Options include using capital budget to pay
for parts, fare increase, service reductions

For immediate release: January 16, 2010

Metro is seeking public input on proposals for how the transit authority should close $16 million of an existing $40 million budget gap in FY2010 that is largely the result of lower than expected ridership and passenger revenues.

Members of the public are asked to comment on four specific proposals that Metro staff have developed at a public hearing on Wednesday, January 27. The hearing will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Metro Headquarters, 600 Fifth Street, NW.

In order to close the $40 million gap, Metro already has identified $24 million in cost-saving measures, which includes making $2.2 million in departmental reductions, utilizing $6 million in insurance recovery from the June 22, 2009 Red Line accident, tapping a $5.6 million reserve fund, using as much as $10 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds from project budget balances to support preventive maintenance and by adjusting call center hours to save $200,000.

To close the remaining $16 million gap, Metro is presenting several options for the public’s consideration.


The options include using capital budget dollars to pay for parts that are needed to keep the bus and rail system in good working order, increasing fares up to 10 cents on all modes of transportation and reducing Metrorail and Metrobus service.

Any possible fare increase or service reductions would take effect on or about March 1 and only apply through June 30, 2010, which is the end of Metro’s fiscal year 2010. Additional public hearings related to Metro’s fiscal year 2011 budget are likely later this spring as Metro grapples with a projected $175 million budget deficit.

The public is invited to provide comments on the following four options to close the current $16 million budget gap, as well as any other combination of actions that are described below.

Option 1: Reduce Metrorail and Metrobus service to save $4 million, and take $12 million from the capital budget to pay for parts that are needed to keep the bus and rail system in good working order.

Consequences: Customers would experience more crowded trains and buses, longer waits between trains and buses; customers may be required to travel an extra block or two to an open station entrance evenings and weekends.

Using capital budget dollars to plug the current operating budget shortfall would create a $12 million shortfall in next year’s capital budget and delay other vital projects that are necessary to keep the system in a state of good repair. The next capital project that is ready to be undertaken, a four-year renovation of three rail yards, would be delayed.

For details about the proposed service reductions, see below.

Option 2: Use $16 million from the capital budget to pay for parts that are needed to keep the bus and rail system in good working order.

Consequences: Using capital budget dollars to plug the current operating budget shortfall would create a $16 million shortfall in next year’s capital budget and delay a rail yard rehabilitation project by one year.

Option 3: Increase fares by 5 cents and passes by the equivalent of 5 cents to generate $4.8 million and use $11.2 million from the capital budget to pay for parts that are needed to keep the bus and rail system in good working order.

Consequences: Customers would pay more for their rides. Using capital budget dollars to plug the current operating budget shortfall would create an $11.2 million shortfall in next year’s capital budget and delay a rail yard rehabilitation project by one year.

Option 4: Increase fares by 10 cents and passes by the equivalent of 10 percent to generate $9.6 million and use $6.4 million from the capital budget to pay for parts that are needed to keep the bus and rail system in good working order.

Consequences: Customers would pay more for their rides. Using capital budget dollars to plug the current operating budget shortfall would create a $6.4 million shortfall in next year’s capital budget and delay a rail yard rehabilitation project by one year.

Proposals to reduce Metrorail service

Following are the specific proposals to reduce Metrorail service, which include increasing intervals between trains, closing one entrance at stations with multiple entrances during evenings and weekends, and reducing the hours of Metrorail service.
  • The increasing of intervals between trains would work as follows:
    • Reduce weekday service between 6 and 6:30 a.m. by increasing intervals between trains from six to eight minutes;
    • Reduce weekday midday and evening service by increasing intervals between trains from 12 to 15 minutes during weekday midday hours and from 20 to 30 minutes during weekday evenings; and
    • Reduce weekend service by increasing intervals between trains from 12 to 15 minutes during the day Saturdays, from 15 to 20 minutes during the day on Sundays, and from 20 to 30 minutes at night on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Reduce weekday rush hour service by operating only six-car trains;

  • Reduce service on holidays and during the holiday season by operating fewer trains;

  • Restructure rush-hour service on the Red Line to three-minute intervals between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Silver Spring and six-minute intervals between Shady Grove and Grosvenor-Strathmore and between Glenmont and Silver Spring. An alternate proposal would be to operate every three minutes between Shady Grove and Silver Spring and every six minutes between Silver Spring and Glenmont;

  • Close one Metrorail station entrance at stations with multiple entrances during evenings and weekends:
    • One station entrance at the following five Metrorail stations would close at 8 p.m. weeknights: Friendship Heights, King Street, McPherson Square, Shaw-Howard U and Stadium-Armory Metrorail stations; and
    • One station entrance at the following 10 Metrorail stations would close on weekends: Anacostia, Friendship Heights, King Street, L’Enfant Plaza, Navy Yard, New York Ave, Shaw-Howard U, Silver Spring, Stadium-Armory and U St/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo.
  • Reduce the hours of Metrorail service:
    • Open the Metrorail system at 5:30 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. on weekdays;
    • Open the Metrorail system at 8 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. on weekends;
    • Close the Metrorail system at 11 p.m. instead of midnight on weekdays; and
    • Close the Metrorail system at 2 a.m. instead of 3 a.m. on weekends.

Proposals to reduce Metrobus service

Following are the specific proposals to reduce Metrobus service, which include reducing the frequency of service on certain bus routes and eliminating service on routes or portions of routes with low ridership:
  • 14th Street Line, Routes 52, 53, 54
    On weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and on Saturdays between 2 and 6 p.m., the alternating pattern of Route 52 and 54 trips would be changed to an alternating pattern of Route 52, 53 and 54 trips. There would be no change in the frequency of service between Takoma Metrorail station and McPherson Square. Between McPherson Square and L’Enfant Plaza, the frequency of service on Routes 52 and 54 would be changed from every 15 minutes on each route to every 20-24 minutes on each route.
  • North Capitol Street Line, Route 80
    On weekdays between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., every other trip would be shortened to operate between Fort Totten Metrorail station and McPherson Square. There would be no change in the frequency of service between Fort Totten and McPherson Square. Between McPherson Square and the Kennedy Center, the frequency of service would be changed from every 10 to 15 minutes to every 20 to 30 minutes
  • Massachusetts Avenue Line, Routes N2, N4, N6
    On weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Routes N2 and N4 would be discontinued and replaced by Route N6 trips between Friendship Heights Metrorail station and Farragut Square at a frequency of every 20 to 22 minutes.
  • Bethesda-Silver Spring Line, Routes J1, J2, J3
    The frequency of rush hour service between Montgomery Mall and Medical Center Metrorail station (Routes J1, J2, J3) would be reduced and minor adjustments would be made to the frequency of rush hour service between Silver Spring and Medical Center Metrorail stations via Bethesda (Routes J2, J3); J1, J2, J3 service between Medical Center Metrorail station and Montgomery Mall would be reduced from every six minutes to about every 10 minutes; Route J1 short trips leaving Medical Center for Silver Spring at 6:03 a.m. and trips leaving Silver Spring for Medical Center at 9 a.m. and 5:46 p.m. would be discontinued.
  • Columbia Pike Line, Routes 16A,B,D,F,J,P
  • Midday and evening weekday service (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m.) would be rerouted via Pentagon City Metrorail station and trip times would be adjusted to provide a combined 10-minute frequency of service with Route 16G along Columbia Pike between Navy Annex and Baileys Crossroads. Current 16A, 16D and 16J midday and evening trips would be renamed as 16M, 16C and 16P to indicate the diversion via Pentagon City Metrorail station. There would be no change to rush hour routes, frequencies of service and route designations;
  • All Saturday service would be rerouted via Pentagon City Metrorail station and trip times would be adjusted to provide a combined 10-minute frequency of service with Route 16G along Columbia Pike between Navy Annex and Baileys Crossroads. Current 16B and 16J trips would be renamed as 16E and 16P to indicate the diversion via Pentagon City Metrorail station; and
  • All Sunday service would be rerouted via Pentagon City Metrorail station and trip times would be adjusted to provide a combined 15-minute frequency of service with Route 16G along Columbia Pike between Navy Annex and Baileys Crossroads. Current 16B trips would be renamed as 16E to indicate the diversion via Pentagon City Metrorail station. (Route 16P currently operates via Pentagon City on Sundays).
  • Columbia Heights West-Pentagon City Line, Routes 16G, 16H, 16W
    • The frequency of Route 16G weekday rush hour service (5:30 to 9 a.m. and 3:30 to 7 p.m.) would be adjusted from 12 to 15 minutes;
      The frequency of Route 16G midday and evening weekday service (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m.) would be adjusted from 15 to 30 minutes, and trip times would be adjusted to provide a combined 10-minute frequency of service with Routes 16A-P along Columbia Pike between Navy Annex and Baileys Crossroads;
    • Route 16G midday and evening weekday and Saturday and Sunday service would be extended to the Pentagon Metrorail station via Pentagon City Metrorail station;
      The frequency of Route 16G Saturday service would be adjusted from 15 to 30 minutes, and trip times would be adjusted to provide a combined 10-minute frequency of service on Saturdays and 15-minute frequency of service on Sundays with Routes 16E and 16P along Columbia Pike between Navy Annex and Baileys Crossroads;
    • Route 16H would be extended weekdays from Jefferson Street & Columbia Pike to either Skyline City via Jefferson Street, Leesburg Pike and George Mason Drive to Seminary Road (current 16W terminal) or NVCC-Alexandria campus east entrance via Jefferson Street and Leesburg Pike to terminal in the vicinity of Dawes Avenue; service between Pentagon City and Crystal City Metrorail stations would be discontinued; and
    • Route 16W would be changed to Route 16H weekdays to make Pentagon City-Skyline City trips via one of the alternative routes described above.
Proposals to increase fares and passes

Following are the specific proposals to increase fares by up to 10 cents and to increase passes by up to the equivalent of 10 cents. These increases would only take effect from March 1 to June 30, 2010.

Metrorail regular fare increases
  • Implement a surcharge of up to 10 cents that increases the base boarding charge from $1.65 to $1.75;
  • Implement a surcharge of up to 10 cents that increases the maximum fare on the rail system from $4.50 to $4.60; and
  • Implement a surcharge of up to10 cents on Senior/Disabled rail trips which are currently one-half the regular fare.
Metrorail reduced fare increases
  • Implement a surcharge of up to 10 cents that increases the charge for the first seven composite miles of travel during off-peak periods from $1.35 to $1.45;
  • Implement a surcharge of up to 10 cents that increases the charge for travel between seven and 10 composite miles of travel during off-peak periods from $1.85 to $1.95; and
  • Implement a surcharge of up to 10 cents that increases the charge for travel over 10 composite miles during off-peak periods from $2.35 to $2.45.
Metrobus fare increases
  • Increase the cash boarding charge by a surcharge of up to 10 cents from $1.35 to $1.45. The SmarTrip® boarding charge also would increase by a surcharge of up to 10 cents from $1.25 to $1.35.
Metrobus express service fare increases
  • Increase the cash boarding charge by a surcharge of up to 10 cents from $3.10 to $3.20 for all express buses. The SmarTrip® boarding charge also would increase by a surcharge of up to 10 cents from $3 to $3.10.
Senior and Disabled Metrobus fare increases
  • Increase the Senior and Disabled Metrobus fare by a surcharge of up to 10 cents from 60 cents to 70 cents.
Increase reduced Metrobus fares in the District of Columbia and Fairfax County
  • Increase the charge for reduced Metrobus fares in the District of Columbia and Fairfax County by a surcharge of up to 10 cents.
MetroAccess fare increases
  • Increase the MetroAccess fare by a surcharge of up to 10 cents from $2.50 to $2.60.
Increase Metrorail passes the equivalent of 10 cents
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail One Day Pass from to $7.80 to $8.30;
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail Weekly Short Trip Pass from $26.40 to $27.90;
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail Weekly Fast Pass from $39 to $40.50;
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail SmartStudent Pass from $26 to $27.50;
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail Transit Link Card on MARC and VRE from $80 to $84;
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail Transit Line Card on MTA from $135 to $139; and
  • Increase the price of District of Columbia student farecards from $8 for 10 trips to $8.80 for 10 trips.
Increases to Metrobus passes the equivalent of 10 cents
  • Increase the price of the Metrobus weekly Flash Pass from $11 to $12;
  • Increase the price of District of Columbia student tokens from $6.25 to $6.85;
  • Increase the price of the weekly Senior Flash Pass from $6 to $6.60; and
  • Increase the price of the weekly Disabled Flash Pass from $6 to $6.60
.
Increases to Metrorail passes the equivalent of 5 cents
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail One Day Pass from to $7.80 to $8.05;
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail Weekly Short Trip Pass from $26.40 to $27.15;
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail Weekly Fast Pass from $39 to $39.75;
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail SmartStudent Pass from $26 to $26.75
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail Transit Link Card on MARC and VRE from $80 to $82;
  • Increase the price of the Metrorail Transit Line Card on MTA from $135 to $137; and
  • Increase the price of District of Columbia student farecards from $8 for 10 trips to $8.40 for 10 trips.
Increases to Metrobus passes equivalent of 5 cents
  • Increase the price of the Metrobus weekly Flash Pass from $11 to $11.50;
  • Increase the price of District of Columbia student tokens from $6.25 to $6.55;
  • Increase the price of the weekly Senior Flash Pass from $6 to $6.30; and
  • Increase the price of the weekly Disabled Flash Pass from $6 to $6.30.

How to submit written comments

Written comments may be e-mailed to public-hearing-testimony@wmata.com or sent to the Office of the Secretary, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 600 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001. Please reference Hearing Number 547. Submissions must be received by the close of the hearing on Wednesday, January 27.

How to register to speak at the public hearing

To establish a witness list, individuals and representatives of organizations who wish to be heard at this public hearing are asked to provide in writing their name, address, telephone number and organization affiliation, if any, to Office of the Secretary, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 600 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. Alternatively, requests to speak may be faxed to 202-962-1133 or e-mailed to public-hearing-testimony@wmata.com. Please submit only one speaker’s name per letter and reference Hearing Number 547. Lists of individual speakers will not be accepted. Others present at the hearing may be heard after people who have registered have spoken. Public officials will be heard first and will be allowed five minutes each to make their presentations. All other speakers will be allowed three minutes each. Relinquishing of time by one speaker to another will not be permitted.
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