GERMANTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — As Metro’s ridership declines, the board suggests making major cutbacks with a nearly $500 million deficit.
Due to the pandemic’s impact on commuters, Metro’s new 2021 proposed budget suggests closing 19 stations, cutting back on weekend services, and closing at 9 pm. A few months ago Metro’s board discussed employee layoffs, reducing hours, and other internal cost-cutting measures.
The transportation system is heavily dependent on the Cares Act but officials say that funding will run out by the end of the year. Six months after the pandemic began, ridership continued to plummet approximately 80% from pre-pandemic levels. Most of the 19 stations that would close are in D.C., Virginia, and two in Prince George’s County Maryland. Those cutbacks will increase delays.
“WMATA’s deeply troubling proposal is another reminder of the critical need for federal stimulus…. Regardless of party or ideology, we must once again come together to save Metro,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
“We all are in very similar situations, Chicago, L.A., and we’re all sort of in this same pressure because the ridership is not coming back as we all hoped and nor the economy as we all hoped,” said Paul Wiedefeld, WMATA, General Manager/CEO.
Those cutbacks could happen as early as next summer.
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