WMATA has taken steps to close the funding gap by reducing administrative costs, using capital funds to cover operating maintenance expenses, and decreasing fare evasion.  -  WMATA/Larry Levine

WMATA has taken steps to close the funding gap by reducing administrative costs, using capital funds to cover operating maintenance expenses, and decreasing fare evasion.

WMATA/Larry Levine

Facing an unprecedented $750 million budget shortfall in the coming year, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is asking the public to provide feedback on the proposed Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) Budget, which includes drastic service cuts, fare increases, layoffs, and other severe cost cutting measures.

The $4.5 billion capital and operating budget proposal provides a worst-case scenario; however, WMATA’s funding partners are currently working through legislation that may reduce some of the most detrimental fare and service changes proposed.

The public is being encouraged to review the proposed FY25 budget and provide comments through the agency’s online survey tool, or by attending an in-person or virtual public hearing.

WMATA’s Projected Budget Shortfall

The budget shortfall is the result of several factors, including the end of federal pandemic relief funds, historic inflation pushing costs up, and slower than expected ridership recovery.

The agency has taken steps to close the funding gap by reducing administrative costs, using capital funds to cover operating maintenance expenses, and decreasing fare evasion.

The steps taken alone are not enough, according to the agency. WMATA is legally required to present a balanced budget each year, and the FY25 budget proposals reflect the significant cuts that would be needed if the agency’s local, state, and federal partners are unable to supply the necessary funding.

WMATA’s Proposed Budget

The agency has released a revised FY25 proposed budget based on public funding commitments that keeps operating spending flat with Fiscal Year 2024 and minimizes service changes. Pending this funding, the FY25 Budget proposal would severely limit service and increase costs for customers. These include:

Fares

  • Up to 25% fare increase.
  • 20% parking rate increase.

Metrobus Service

  • Eliminate service on 83 of 184 routes.
  • Reduce service on 51 of 184 routes.
  • Shorten routes with rail service.

Metrorail Service

  • Close 10 lower ridership stations.
  • Decrease service on all lines — weekdays every 15 minutes, weekends every 20 minutes.
  • Decrease Hours of operation: Close the rail system at 10pm.
  • Or, keep existing rail system hours and open earlier and close later on weekends: open at 6 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, close at 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

MetroAccess Paratransit Service

  • Reduced service area due to a reduction in fixed-route bus service.
  • Approximately 20% of MetroAccess trips would no longer be served.

 

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