D.C. Metro officials are considering a proposal that would close 20 stations across the transit system during off-peak hours to deal with the agency’s budgetary woes.
The proposal is one of a number of options given to the Metro Board in order to mitigate its financial hardships. The plan would close six stations in D.C. and seven in both Maryland and Virginia. A proposal brought before the D.C. Council Oct. 12 suggested hiking fares 35 percent to deal with the transit agency’s current $275 million budget shortfall, reports FOX5.
“All of these ideas were put forward by our General Manager Paul Wiedefeld,” Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans told FOX5. “And again, he doesn’t have a position on any of these. He is saying these are our options.”
Both proposals are wildly unpopular among lawmakers in D.C. and are unlikely to be implemented. Declining ridership due to unreliability and SafeTrack repairs has left Metro strapped for cash, and many localities appear reluctant to allocate additional funds to the transit system.
“We could get $275 million from the three jurisdictions – $100 [million] from Maryland, $100 [million] from D.C., $75 [million] from Virginia and we’re done,” Evans told FOX5. “If that doesn’t happen, then we have to get it somewhere else.”
Commuters in D.C. have taken 20 million fewer trips on the Metro this year, bringing ridership to 10-year lows. Ridership fell by 11 percent between April and June when SafeTrack began.
Metro made 321 million passenger trips for the fiscal year, which ended June 30, marking a 6 percent decline over ridership in 2015. Metro officials previously estimated ridership would grow by 3.2 percent this fiscal year. Analysts warn if the trend continues, the D.C. Metro will have a $1.1 billion budget shortfall by 2020.
The following stations would close: White Flint, Forest Glen, Spring Hill, Greensboro, McLean, West Falls Church, Virginia Square, Van Dorn Street, Eisenhower Avenue, Congress Heights, Naylor Road, Stadium-Armory, Benning Road, Capital Heights, Addison Road-Seat Pleasant, Morgan Boulevard, Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood, Cheverly and Landover.
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