Paul Wiedefeld

Metro Committee Votes to Hike Fares, Cut Service to Close $290 Million Budget Gap

Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld called the proposal "tough medicine" for the region

Members of Metro's board of directors moved one step closer Thursday morning to increasing costs for riders and cutting service on rail and bus lines.

In a bid to close a $290 million budget gap, the Metro board's finance committee approved a proposal to raise Metro peak rail fare by $0.10, off-peak rail fare by $0.25 and bus fare by $0.25. These increases will raise an estimated $21 million in fiscal 2018, Metro said.

Additionally, the plan would increase time between trains and eliminate the bus routes determined to be inefficient. Those cuts would save an estimated $29 million.

Unsurprisingly, the threat of service cuts are not popular with riders.

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

Metro has cut hundreds of positions and will use some federal grants to help close the gap.

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.

The proposal will go before the full Metro board for a final vote March 23. If approved, the changes would take effect about July 1.

On Tuesday, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said the fare hike and service cuts are necessary. 

“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," he said.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

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