Metro News Release

For immediate release: June 26, 2008

Metro Board approves budget that includes improved rail and bus service

The Metro Board approved a new $1.9 billion budget today that includes $21 million in service and security improvements for Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess, the paratransit service for people with disabilities.

“This will make some improvements to service, but not everything we’d like to be able to do given our budgetary constraints,” said Metro Board Chairman Christopher Zimmerman. “The improvements that we are making are needed given the rapid growth in demand for public transportation.”

The fiscal 2009 budget, which begins July 1, includes adding 28 police officers needed for plain clothes and special event operations, such as July Fourth events on the National Mall, marathons and sporting events. The spending plan also sets aside $3 million to add more buses to heavily used routes, including the 30s line – Metro’s busiest bus route, attracting 20,000 riders a day. The transit agency plans to run more eight-car trains during rush hours and six-car trains during non-rush hours.

“The budget will help us improve on-time performance and reduce overcrowding on buses, increase rail service, and continue maintenance of the rail system and escalators,” said Metro General Manager John B. Catoe, Jr.

MetroAccess, which has seen a 16 percent growth in ridership, will receive up to 100 more vehicles and will switch from curb-to-curb to door-to-door service, beginning Sunday.

After an 18-month pilot program, the Board decided to continue to offer Yellow Line service to the Fort Totten station during non rush hours instead of stopping at the Mt. Vernon Square station and to run non rush hour Red Line trains to the end of the line at Shady Grove instead of turning every other train back at Grosvenor-Strathmore station – four stops short of the final stop. MetroExtra, the express service in the District of Columbia, and the College Park-Bethesda J4 bus service also will continue.

More than a half a billion dollars will be spent on safety enhancements, upgrades to run more eight-car trains, track, escalator, elevator and facility maintenance and the purchase of more trains and buses. All 184 of the new 6000 series railcars and 203 new buses are expected to be in service by June 2009.

Analysts project ridership will grow by 3 percent for rail, 1 percent for bus and 16 percent for MetroAccess during the new fiscal year. Metro riders, the federal government, and the local governments served by Metro fund the operating and capital budgets.

News release issued at 1:49 pm, June 26, 2008.