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Government shutdown cost Metro $5.5M

There are more crowds on the Blue Line after Metro transferred some of the line\'s trains to the Yellow Line. (WTOP File)

WASHINGTON – Many commuters may have noticed fewer people using public transportation during the partial government shutdown — and Metro says it felt the difference, too.

The shutdown cost the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority $5.5 million, according to information released Thursday. The shutdown — which stretched from Oct. 1 through Oct. 16 — included 11 “commuting days” for the system, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel says.

A 13 percent drop in ridership during the shutdown translated into 1.7 million fewer trips than usual, Stessel says.

Stessel says the transit system is in good shape despite the loss. The first quarter of the fiscal year, WMATA ended in a net positive position by about $11 million. And that $5.5 million in lost revenue is a drop in the bucket in the context of Metro’s $1.6 billion operating budget.

“Anytime you have a loss of revenue, that’s something that isn’t getting done,” Stessel says. “But there’s no cause for alarm, we are in a stable position financially — actually a little favorable to budget.”

Stessel says WMATA still has to look at future shutdown risks.

“There’s of course the potential for another federal government shutdown as early as January, so it’s something we have to be aware of,” Stessel says.

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