Nearly 4 percent fewer people rode the glorified subway this July than the past July, and 2.5 percent fewer did the same in August.
What does that mean for Metro? A whole lot less cash. The already cash-strapped system has taken in $8.2 million less in fare than expected, and a WMATA report forecasts as much as $22.4 million in shortfalls during their current funding year, according to the Examiner.
So how'd they find themselves in this pickle? Lousy budget gimmicks. Metro's sharp-minded budget forecasters assumed that Metro's ridership would continue to grow despite overcrowded cars, intermittent service, and crashing trains. They even expected to generate $10 million in cash from eliminating paper transfers, but are only going to take in about $6.8 million. (If that makes you feel bad, imagine how hard that's hitting the guys trying to re-sell transfers on the black market!)
But it's not entirely the beancounters' fault. Maybe all the people dying on the trains has something to do with it.
Ridership on the Red Line, which suffered the terrible crash earlier this year, is down 10.4 percent and 8.3 percent over last year's July and August levels, respectively. Why? Maybe it's because track closures and inspections meant it often took about three weeks to get from the end of the Red Line to Union Station.
So if you're one of those Metro-lovers, do your part. Buy an extra farecard today and just rip it up. Consider it your donation to the system you love. Pretty soon, they'll be begging us all for more help.