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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has extended until March 9 the public comment period on the agency’s proposed fiscal-year 2021 budget to gather feedback on several proposed changes, such as expanded service hours and fare and service adjustments.
WMATA’s board will consider the feedback prior to making key decisions about the budget, WMATA officials said in a press release.
Yesterday, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission’s (NVTC) WMATA Committee submitted comments and raised concerns over fare and service changes outlined WMATA's budget.
The commission sent a letter opposing WMATA’s proposal to raise Metrorail peak max fare from $6 to $7 because it puts an unfair burden on long-distance riders, NVTC officials said in a press release.
“Such a drastic increase in the peak base rail fare would cause a dramatic loss in rail ridership, further decreasing farebox revenues,” commission members wrote.
The commission also opposes a $1 surcharge for riders using the Dulles Airport Station in Dulles, Virginia, because it would violate WMATA’s fare policy principle of establishing equitable fares.
Additionally, the NVTC raised concerns that WMATA’s proposal to restore some late-night Metrorail service could compromise safety and maintenance. The commission requested that the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) thoroughly review the proposal’s impact on safety before additional late-night rail hours are restored.
The WMSC is an agency established by the District fo Columbia, Maryland and Virginia to provide safety oversight of WMATA’s rail system.
Yesterday’s letter supplements comments that the NVTC provided to WMATA in February. At that time, NVTC asked WMATA to increase customer-friendly fare products, deploy more eight-car trains, and deliver capital investments that focus on safety, system presentation and a state of good repair.
Also yesterday, WMATA announced it will host a meeting April 9 to hear from riders on the agency's proposed modifications to a planned garage expansion at Grosvenor-Strathmore Station in Maryland.
The garage expansion is part of a joint development that would eliminate a surface parking lot at the station. Phase 1 of construction is underway.
Due to the cost of additional construction, lack of parking availability and event disruptions, WMATA is considering three options: moving forward with Phase 2 construction, cancelling future construction or delaying the decision until an evaluation is completed.