Metro management released new information on Monday–and it’s not on rail problems or the progress of Safetrack.
General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced that there will be position cuts in the agency…500 of them.
“It didn’t totally surprise me,” said Marc Elrich, Montgomery County Councilmember.
The agency will be eliminating positions identified as redundant or non-critical.
“I think most of them are vacant positions, but there are some individuals involved,” said Jack Evans, DC Metro Board Member.
There are more than ten Metro Rail stations in Montgomery County, and some locals are worried about how it’s going to affect the area.
“Well my first reaction is, I find that a little of bizarre because the big problem with the Metro now is the unreliability,” said Kirk Burkhalter, Metro rider. “The trains aren’t running really on a schedule, and I don’t feel like getting rid of people is going to help that.”
WHAG talked to some riders, who did not want to be on camera, but say their hearts hurt for those workers being let go.
Others, see this as a sign that management is really serious about changing Metro.
Councilmember Marc Elrich sees both sides.
“I’ve gotta think [Wiedefeld has] looked very closely at what his resources are and what his deployment of people is, and he’s made a decision that he really believes is best for the system,” said Elrich. “But I’m sure, and would be surprised if [the workers being let go] didn’t say anything or didn’t feel it was wrong.”
Like the thousands of people who use the transportation system, there are thousands of Metro workers.
“It’s important that Metro downsize,” said Evans. “We have 13-thousand employees and I think [Wiedefeld’s] action sends a message that we are very serious about getting our house in order.”
The elimination process will take several months.
Wiedefeld wanted to give as much notice as possible.
Metro’s next steps include updating policies on the reduction of staff and working with department heads on notifying workers it affects.