13 Metro Bus Lines Could Be Cut, Fares Could Increase in Budget Proposal | NBC4 Washington

Adam Tuss and the News4 team covering everything that slows you down on roads and transit

13 Metro Bus Lines Could Be Cut, Fares Could Increase in Budget Proposal

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Metro may raise fares and discontinue 13 bus routes to help close a budget gap. There's a vote on that subject Thursday night. News4 Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss rode one of those routes -- the 2T that runs from Dun Loring through Vienna and up to Tysons -- and explains what's at stake.

    (Published Tuesday, March 7, 2017)

    Metro is proposing service cuts as well as fare hikes in its budget for next fiscal year, and some riders are concerned that their commutes are about to become unmanageable.

    Thirteen Metro bus routes have been targeted for elimination, including the 2T, which goes from Dunn Loring in Virginia through Vienna to Tysons and back.

    Metro says some amount of service cuts as well as fare increases are needed to close a $290 million budget gap. They will meet for a preliminary vote the cuts on Thursday, though riders can still register their opinion before the final vote on March 23.

    Unsurprisingly, the threat of service cuts are not popular with riders, who say they depend on the bus.

    "I need the bus, that's true!" said daily 2T rider Ruth Garcinizo, who does not have a drivers license.

    Others aren't convinced service cuts are absolutely needed.

    "Two million people ride every day and that's, you know, steady cash flow," said Gene Hlaing, who also rides the 2T.

    In addition to the bus service cuts, trains would run every 8 minutes in peak periods instead of every 6 minutes as they do now. But off-peak service cuts previously proposed would not happen.

    Metro's budget proposal raises the local bus fare from $1.75 to $2 per trip. However, the seven-day bus pass will remain at $17.50.

    Off-peak rail riders would see a jump to $2 for base fare in addition to current distance-based fares.

    “Metro listened very carefully to our customers who said they would prefer to pay a little more than lose key rail and bus services,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said. “I recognize that even with some relief for customers, this proposal is tough medicine for the region, jurisdictions, riders and Metro employees, all of whom must contribute to balance this budget.”