Note to Online Chat Rooms: Metro's Listening

Free weekend parking may end at Metro lots

WASHINGTON -- Are public stonings legal in D.C.?

Residents may want to gather some large rocks and hunt down the person who suggested in an online chat room Friday that Metro should start charging for parking on weekends.

Thanks buddy!

Metro General Manager John Catoe is now considering the Web chat participant's idea of ending the free parking on weekends and holidays at Metro's lots and garages.

Catoe said the move may help close the projected $154 million deficit in the next budget, but he hasn't decided whether to recommend the idea to the Metro board. Daily parking at Metro lots and garages ranges from about $4.25 to $4.75.

Catoe has said he can cut the deficit by more than half by eliminating 313 jobs, about half of which are vacant. Service cuts remain under discussion. Catoe, however, has ruled out ending service earlier in the evening. There were talks about possibly stopping train service at 10 p.m. on weekdays and closing some station entrances at certain times of day.

"We're not closing our rail system at 10 o'clock unless there's a whole collapse of the local economy," Catoe told the Washington Post. "It ain't gonna happen."

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Now that we know Catoe actually listens to the public, instead of telling him to charge more for services perhaps we can use our power for good -- like mood lighting and dance music on late-night trains, baristas in all morning railcars and free puppies with every SmarTrip card purchase.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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