WMATA Approved Buyouts and Service Reductions

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority couldn't wait for a still hypothetical bailout from Congress or the Biden administration.

2 minute read

November 24, 2020, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Coronavirus and Transportation

Nicole Glass Photography / Shutterstock

The board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) approved service cuts and an employee buyout plan to address the system's $176 million budget shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic, report Justin George.

"The agency will offer retirement-eligible employees $15,000 to leave in hopes that several hundred workers will accept the incentive — part of an effort to shed 1,400 jobs," according to George. Metro's biggest employee union objected to the buyout plan, hoping the WMATA would wait until the Biden administration was in a position to deliver on promises to fund public transit.

As for the changes approved for service on the WMATA system, George offers this summary: "Among the changes that will begin around January are less-frequent train service on weekdays and the reinstatement of fares on Metrobuses."

"Service cuts will not include closing Metrorail two hours earlier, which was part of the agency’s initial plan. The agency also will not cut back on station managers or reduce the number of trains serving the Maryland suburbs. Metro decided to pull back on those proposals after receiving more than 5,000 public comments and because its financial outlook has improved since September."

The WMATA is far from alone in the fiscal crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. News coverage earlier this month revealed plans for more than 9,000 layoffs and a 40 percent reduction in subway service at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

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