A budget plan approved Thursday by Metro’s board of directors would raise peak fares, extend late-night hours and create a first-of-its-kind flat fee for riding Metrorail on weekends.
Board members gave the plan unanimous, preliminary approval.
"The budget prepares for Metro’s recovery and funds the growing rail ridership and ongoing safety and service improvements that Metro was achieving before the COVID-19 pandemic began," Metro said in a statement.
Here’s what could change:
- Peak hours base fare would increase from $2.25 to $2.35
- Peak hours maximum fare would increase from $6.00 to $6.50
- A flat fare of $2.00 would be created on weekends
- Expanded hours:
- Monday through Thursday: 5 a.m. to midnight
- Friday: 5 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Saturday: 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Sunday: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Trains will come more frequently overall, with Sunday service matching Saturday service.
The plan comes as Metro estimates the transit agency has lost $67 million thus far because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ridership is down dramatically, and Metro asked people only to use the system for essential trips.
“The whole world is changing around us,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said via video call. “People’s travel patterns, how they’re working, is changing. So let’s see how that all plays out and we’ll adjust along the way.”
Proposed changes would help the transit system operate more efficiently during its recovery, Metro said in a statement.
Optimization of Metrobus routes will save WMATA $7.6 million in the new fiscal year.
Metro is also considering a long-term capital improvement plan, which would invest $9.7 billion in the system over six years. $1.8 billion would be spent in the coming fiscal year alone. Investments would include new rail cars, buses, escalators, elevators and lighting.