D.C. Metro chooses fare increase, not service cuts
Facing a serious shortfall of revenue midway through its fiscal year, the Washington Metro board decided today to reject proposed cuts to rail and bus service and instead impose a 10-cent, across-the-board fare increase.
In addition, the board directed the staff to make an additional $6 billion in "non-operational" cuts. It also OK'd the use of $10 million in stimulus funds -- which had originally been directed to capital projects that later came in under budget -- for operations.
The board's action appeared to track the sentiment of riders who appeared at a public hearing Wednesday night, where calls for protection from service cutbacks outweighed opposition to increases in fares. Among the proposed service cutbacks on the table were a decrease in late-night Metrorail service, a reduction in the number of eight-car trains at peak times and the elimination of some bus routes
In another action, the board elected Maryland's Peter Benjamin to serve as Metro chairman for the next year. In that capacity, Benjamin will presumably lead the search for a new general manager to replace John Catoe, who resigned early this month.