Metro Board approves Fiscal 2013 budget to support safety, reliability and improved bus, rail service
The Metro Board of Directors approved Metro’s $2.5 billion operating and capital budgets for fiscal 2013, which fund critical projects to enhance safety and reliability, as well as customer service. Metro’s fiscal year begins July 1.
“The fiscal 2013 budget reaffirms our strong commitment to building a better Metro system—one that is safe and more reliable,” said Metro Board Chair Catherine Hudgins. “The budget enables Metro to continue its efforts to rebuild the system and introduce new service initiatives to improve the traveling experience of our customers.”
Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles said, “In addition to continuing the ongoing efforts to rebuild the Metro system with new and upgraded equipment, and increased preventive maintenance efforts, the newly passed, balanced budget provides funding for better bus service and more rail service for thousands of Metro riders.”
The $1.6 billion fiscal 2013 operating budget allows for expanded rush hour Metrorail service, better bus service, additional police officers, improved escalator preventive maintenance, advancement of the worker fatigue management program and continued compliance with National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, and preparation for the start of Silver Line service in late 2013.
Specifically, beginning June 18, Metro will introduce Rush+ service, which benefits more than 100,000 Metrorail riders with increased, rush hour rail service. Rush+ will provide more frequent train service at 21 stations and new transfer-free commute options for many customers on the Orange, Blue, Yellow and Green lines.
Also, beginning June 17, Metro will implement “Better Bus” -- the largest improvement in bus service in five years, including enhancements along priority corridors to improve on-time performance and reliability, and reduce crowding. As a result, more than a third of Metrobus customers will benefit from more frequent bus service and bigger buses on select Metrobus routes, expanded hours of operation for limited-stop MetroExtra service and improved reliability this summer. Over the next year, Metro will invest a total of $3.1 million to advance its Priority Corridor Network, benefitting more than 200,000 customers with improved service and increased capacity.
Metro’s capital budget supports Metro Forward, the massive rebuilding effort to improve safety and reliability including major projects to replace tracks and track components, repair tunnels and infrastructure, upgrade stations and facilities, rehabilitate or replace escalators and elevators, and purchase new buses, railcars and MetroAccess vehicles.
The nearly $1 billion capital budget for fiscal 2013 includes a slate of projects directly related to improving safety and reliability, and better service for customers. The capital budget consists of contributions from the federal government and Metro’s jurisdictional partners. Passenger fares are not used for capital projects.
Major capital projects for fiscal 2013 include:
The Metro Board of Directors also approved the six-year, $5.7 billion Capital Improvement Plan (fiscal 2013-2018), which includes projects to advance NTSB recommendations, including track circuit replacements and the replacement of Metro’s oldest railcars, the 1000-series fleet, with new 7000-series cars. Additional projects will include replacement of MetroAccess vehicles, replacement of 88 escalators throughout the system and a new electronic payment program that will allow customers to pay transit fares directly at the faregate or farebox using contactless Smartcards.
In developing the fiscal 2013 budget, Metro weighed public input from riders through a series of public hearings in February and March, as well as an online survey. The balanced budget proposal approved by the Board today includes cost sharing measures, with fare increases and increased investment from the jurisdictions.
New fares and parking fees will go into effect on July 1, the start of the fiscal year. Metro’s Board of Directors approved changes to simplify the fare structure, including elimination of the peak-of-the-peak surcharge for Metrorail trips and removal of peak-period restrictions on the Metrorail One-day Pass. In addition, based on customer feedback, the Board held steady the $7 maximum fare for MetroAccess trips. Other changes include introduction of a new 28-day pass, a $1 surcharge for Metrorail trips using a paper fare card to encourage SmarTrip use, a 10-cent increase in local bus fares, a 25-cent increase in parking fees and a decrease in bicycle locker rental fees.
News release issued at 1:17 pm, May 24, 2012.