Metro 2018 budget plan cuts 1,000 positions, certain employee health care expenses and right sizes rail and bus services to support current ridership.
“Metro has to face reality when it comes to what the region says it can afford and direct those resources to best serve the riders we have today,” said Wiedefeld. “This plan has Metro doing everything in our power to get major expense categories under control while improving safety and making the trains run on time.”
As proposed, rail service beginning July 1, 2017, would operate as follows:
- During peak periods, trains would operate every 2-4 minutes at stations served by multiple lines in the system’s core.
- Trains would run every 8 minutes in peak periods instead of every 6 minutes today.
- Service would become more frequent for Blue Line riders, where trains are now scheduled every 12 minutes.
- Rush+ trains would be eliminated.
- During most off-peak periods (e.g. midday, early evening, and weekends) trains would run every 15 minutes on each line.
“The most difficult part of this plan is the impact for Metro customers and employees,” said Wiedefeld. “Tough choices are required to balance the operating budget.
The proposal raises the local bus fare with the off-peak rail boarding charge at $2 per trip. Off-peak rail riders would pay the $2 boarding charge in addition to current distance-based fares.
During peak hours, the boarding charge would increase a dime to $2.25 with a new maximum fare of $6 (vs. $5.90 today). For bus riders, one-way local bus fares would increase from $1.75 -- among the lowest nationally -- to $2.00.
Express bus fares would increase from $4 today to $4.25, and daily parking fees would tick up by a dime.
The final budget, including any service and fare changes, requires approval by the full Board in March in order to take effect July 1, 2017.