As Metro ridership declines, transit system to discuss proposal to change operating times

- A new proposal from Metro calls for major changes to the system's opening and closing times.

WAMU transportation reporter and FOX 5 contributor, Martin Di Caro, says the transit system is considering reducing operating hours on nights and weekends to allow more time for crews to perform maintenance work.

SERVICE HOURS PROPOSAL:

  Scenario A Scenario B Scenario C
Mon - Thurs

5am-midnight

5am-11:30pm

5am-11:30pm

Fri

5am-midnight

5am-midnight

5am-1am

Sat

7am-midnight

7am-midnight

7am-1am

Sun

7am-10pm

7am-11:30pm

8am-11pm

D.C., Maryland and Virginia have pushed back against this proposal, Di Caro says, and alternatives to the new service times will be discussed. Di Caro says a decision is expected in the next few months. (READ FULL REPORT)

A new report also says Metro ridership is down to levels not seen in more than a decade. Di Caro says poor service combined with maintenance work, travel alternatives and the rise of telemarketing have worked to whittle away ridership figures.

Di Caro says 15 million fewer trips were made on the rail lines during the last fiscal year and is looking at a budget deficit next year of nearly $150 million dollars. “They're only few ways to do something about that. You can raise fares and/or cut service and/or ask the taxpayers and all the jurisdictions to cough up more money,” he said.

The chairman of the metro board Jack Evans told FOX 5 that he isn’t on board with closing metro so early on weekends. Evans says late night service has to be restored after safetrack. He wants it to go back to 3am for those going out Friday and Saturday nights.  Evans says he agrees with metro's management not to extend service for sporting events.

Safetrack has a long way to go, these permit changes need to go through public hearings - a committee vote and then a full board vote. 

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