For the first time in years, there is talk of expanding service on existing rail lines in the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) system.
"Metro officials are seeking to institute a slew of changes in their upcoming budget to win back riders — including charging a flat $2 fare for subway trips taken on weekends, expanding the rush-hour window to include later times on weekday mornings and evenings and increase all trains to their maximum length of eight cars," reports Martine Powers.
The proposed service changes were included in Metro's budget for 2020, which must still be approved by the Metro Board of Directors. The news of the investment in Metro service comes after years of expensive malfunctions, cuts in service, increased fares, and declining ridership.
Funding obstacles must still be overcome to achieve the goals of the proposals, reports Powers. "While there are a number of improvements such as pass discounts and automatic train operations that we can do within the new cap on subsidy growth, the service improvements I am including in this budget will need the region’s support and the Board’s approval," said Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld in a statement released on Monday. According to Powers, the proposed changes would require more than the increased funding approved earlier this year by Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Specific improvements proposed in the budget include extending Yellow Line Service, running Red Line trains to Glenmont during rush hour, "which would double rush hour service on the northeastern end of the Red Line," according to Powers.
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