Metro budget crunch will mean less frequent trains, but not earlier closing time

Metro riders may soon have to wait a bit longer for a train, but won’t have to worry about the mass transit system closing down earlier than usual. The changes come as Metro faces a massive budget gap.

“With the dramatic decline in passengers and fare revenue, our service and financial model has been thrown out of balance,” said Metro Board member Steve McMillin.

Under a revised budget adopted by the board Thursday, rail service would become slightly less frequent, but the rail system would maintain an 11 p.m. closing time. An earlier proposal would have had Metrorail close at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Under the newly adopted plan, Red Line trains would run every six minutes on weekdays and every 12 minutes on weekends. On all other lines, trains would run every 12 minutes on weekdays and every 15 minutes on weekends, according to Metro.

Service would actually improve on 20 bus lines under the plan. The changes will take effect in February.

Faced with a $176.5 million budget gap, Metro is also hoping to avoid layoffs with buyouts for retirement-age workers. “Basically, we’re offering $15,000 if you were to retire now,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said.

In a statement, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 President Raymond Jackson said, “It is clear that WMATA is rushing to cut service and lay off employees, especially when there is a great possibility for additional funding under the incoming Biden/Harris administration.”

2 Metro stations to be renamed

Also Thursday, the Metro Board voted to rename two Metro stations.

Tysons Corner is changing to Tysons in Virginia, and Prince George’s Plaza will become Hyattsville Crossing in Maryland.

Prince George’s Plaza is an outdated name for a shopping center, while work has been ongoing to drop the “Corner” from Tysons Corner when referring to the area.

Fairfax County and Prince George’s County requested the changes, respectively.

The name changes will happen when new signage is installed as passenger service on Phase Two of the Silver Line begins. A majority of those surveyed by Metro said they preferred the existing station names to the proposed ones.

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