WASHINGTON - 2015 has been a rough year for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Safety concerns troubled the department following an incident at L'Enfant Plaza in January that filled tunnels with smoke, leaving one person dead and others injured. Earlier this year, following the deadly accident, Metro was placed under direct federal oversight regarding safety concerns.
Decreased ridership and competition from other modes of transportation have also left the agency with budget problems.
Earlier this year, following the deadly accident, Metro was placed under direct federal oversight regarding safety concerns.
New General Manager, Paul Wiedefeld, joined us Monday to talk about how he plans to fix these and other problems. He said he will begin by focusing on customer service issues like, safety and reliability, as well as making sure the department is in good fiscal shape.
"We have the money for safety. We're chipping away at all those issues and working in part with the Federal Transit Administration to do that. The board is behind the safety issues 100 percent," he said.
Wiedefeld says he believes Metro employees are excited to get back on the right track and work on existing problems. He believes through proper training and proper spending, Metro can instill confidence back in its ridership.
As far as fare hikes, Wiedefeld says he believes Metro has to perform better before asking for more money from riders.
When asked how Metro can bring riders who have stopped riding - back to the system, he said being open with them is key.
"Letting them know what we're up against want we're doing to improve it and come at it with more of a customer focus."