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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA proposes fare hikes, service cuts to bridge budget gap


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has proposed a plan for closing a $189 million budget gap for fiscal-year 2011.

The proposal includes fare and parking fee increases, service adjustments on both rail and bus lines, reallocation of capital funds, departmental reductions, layoffs and increased contributions by local jurisdictions.

Service adjustments are expected to provide an additional $8 million, accounting for 4 percent of the budget gap, while fare increases are expected to generate an additional $87.9 million. Changes to parking, bicycle locker and other fees are expected to bring in an additional $13.8 million.

Proposed fare hikes would include raising peak-hour rail fares from $1.65 to $1.90. In addition, a 10-cent surcharge would be added to fares during peak morning and evening periods. All riders using paper fare cards also would pay an extra 25 cents per transaction.

MetroAccess initiatives and departmental reductions are expected to close the budget gap by $7.2 million and $16.3 million, respectively. Interim General Manager Richard Sarles proposes the agency cut 313 jobs and eliminate a 1 percent pay raise for non-union employees.

In addition, WMATA would request that Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia increase their jurisdictional contributions by $26 million. The agency also would use $30.1 million in capital funds to pay for preventative maintenance.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/23/2010