Metro presents plan to plug FY2010 budget gap
Metrorail and Metrobus service reductions could save $4 million
Metro General Manager John Catoe today (December 17) presented to the Board of Directors a preliminary plan to plug a $40 million gap in Metro’s current fiscal year operating budget due to the effects of the economy and lower ridership. The plan includes $4 million in Metrorail and Metrobus service reductions.
“So far this fiscal year, ridership revenue has been 6 percent lower than expected for Metrorail and 10 percent lower than expected for Metrobus,” said Catoe. “Riders also are taking more short trips, which causes the average Metrorail fare to decrease. Lower rail ridership has resulted in less revenue from Metro’s parking facilities, and MetroAccess ridership is continuing to grow.”
In order to close the budget gap, Metro staff are proposing a number of cost-saving measures, including making $2.2 million in departmental reductions, utilizing $6 million in insurance recovery from the June 22 Red Line accident, transferring $12 million to the capital budget, using as much as $10 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds from project budget balances to support preventive maintenance, tapping a $5.6 million reserve fund and implementing $4 million in Metrobus and Metrorail service reductions.
Metro’s Board of Directors plans to have a special Board meeting on Thursday, January 7, to discuss the proposed service reductions. Possible Metrorail service reductions being considered include:
• Reducing weekday early morning service by widening intervals between trains to every eight minutes between 6 and 6:30 a.m.;
• Reducing weekday peak service by operating all six-car trains;
• Restructuring peak service on the Red Line to three-minute intervals from Shady Grove to Silver Spring and six-minute intervals from Silver Spring to Glenmont, which means every other Red Line train would no longer terminate at Grosvenor-Strathmore but instead would terminate at Shady Grove;
• Widening weekday intervals between trains to every 15 minutes during midday and 30 minutes at night;
• Closing some station entrances at 8 p.m. at stations with multiple entrances;
• Widening weekend intervals between trains to every 15 minutes during the day Saturdays, 20 minutes during the day Sundays and 30 minutes at night on Saturdays and Sundays;
• Closing some station mezzanines on weekends at stations with multiple mezzanines; and
• Reducing service on some holidays and holiday-related days to be more in line with ridership.
For a complete list of proposed Metrorail service reductions, see the attached spreadsheet.
Possible Metrobus service reductions include:
• Reducing the frequency of service on low-ridership bus routes;
• Eliminating some trips or portions of trips on low-ridership bus routes;
• Restructuring service to provide more stream-lined operations; and
• Reducing some bus stops.
For a complete list of proposed Metrobus service reductions, see the attached spreadsheet.
The proposed service reductions do not require public hearings because they are considered to be minor service reductions. Minor Metrobus service reductions are defined as reductions that do not reduce the span of service by more than one hour on a given bus line, reduce 15 percent of route miles or 20 percent of a line’s scheduled revenue miles or impact more than 10 percent of riders on a given bus line. Metro’s Board of Directors must approve the Metrorail service reductions, but they are not required to approve the bus reductions.
In addition to service reductions, Metro staff also proposed closing the customer information call center two hours early every night, at 8:30 instead of 10:30 p.m. Closing the call center early could save $300,000 in FY2010.
Media contact for this news release: Angela Gates or Lisa Farbstein at 202-962-1051.
For all other inquiries, please call customer service at 202-637-7000.
News release issued at 4:56 pm, December 17, 2009.