Metro Exploring Budget Cuts, Increased Fares | NBC4 Washington

Metro Exploring Budget Cuts, Increased Fares

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    As Metro deals with a deadly accident, a federal investigation, lawsuits and cracked rails – the transit agency is exploring the possibility of fare hikes and service cuts.

    Metro staff is working on a budget document that could increase fares on bus and rail by as much as a dime, increase the length of time between trains during peak and off peak hours, eliminate late night rail service on weekends and cut bus routes with low ridership. Administrative positions within the transit agency could also be slashed.

    The changes to fares, service and positions are being explored as a way to lessen the amount of funding local jurisdictions would have to kick in for Metro’s 2016 fiscal year operating budget.

    Right now, jurisdictions are being asked to contribute $140 million more than Fiscal Year 2015 – an 18 percent increase.

    “Some board members balked at the idea of increased jurisdictional contributions and asked staff to consider other ways to close the gap. That’s where we are now,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel wrote in an email.

    Even though Metro has a board policy where it can only adjust fares once every two years – these potential fare increases are being called “off cycle.”

    Any new fare hike or service cut on Metro would have to be presented as part of a public hearing process.

    According to the budget document, fare increases could be implemented by Sept. 1, 2015. Service reductions on bus and rail could be implemented by Oct. 1, 2015.