WMATA is hosting a live chat with John Catoe this Friday from noon-1pm. This chat will be in the wake of the Thursday board meeting, during which general cuts to service are expected to be announced. Metro is dealing with a $40 Million deficit, which the blame largely on decreased ridership due to the economic downturn, and in the wake to the train crash in June of last year. Expect questions on how individual routes, particularly bus routes, will be effected by service downgrade. You can join the chat here.
By now, everyone has heard (or is aware) that WMATA has a $29M gap in their budget to fill. And soon. Early suggestions by some parties (coughGrahamcough) was to use part of the $200M bailout money to fill the gap. Which is a stupid idea. And most board members agreed; that idea got tossed last week. (I’m glad there’s some actual common sense being demonstrated now over in Metro’s HQ; use the stimulus money for the listed projects originally put forth. It’s not a magic piggy-bank to use for stop-gaps.)
So what does WMATA do? Michael Perkins over at GGW gave a great rundown of the four options that Metro really has at this point. Probably one of the most controversial to many is the option of cutting services. Yet Metro seems to be holding this one option at arm’s length. It’s very much a hot-button topic for commuters, because no matter what Metro decides to cut (if at all this year), some people will be unhappy.
So let’s pretend you’re Catoe & Co: What services, routes or other Metro minutia would you cut in order to help bridge that gap? We’ll assume that the most obvious and best option – jurisdictional subsidy increases – isn’t viable and that Metro’s only option now is to cut down services and / or increase fares. What do you do? What’s most fair to you? Continue reading