Metro faces a significant budget shortfall due to a decrease in ridership caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ridership rates are down about 90% on Metrorail and 60% on Metrobus.
Federal funding legislation passed by Congress in 2020 allowed Metro to avoid layoffs, continue providing essential service and prepare for transit ridership to return. However, even with the additional funding, there’s not enough money to fill the entire budget gap for the Fiscal Year 2022 budget that begins July 1, 2021.
The proposed budget maintains current rail service levels and hours through the end of 2021. On Metrobus, full or partial service would be restored on 10 additional lines, late night service (until 2 a.m.) would be added on 24 lines in late Spring 2021, and coverage to support commuter and school-based travel would be added in Fall 2021.
Metro is working with the Congressional delegation to secure additional funding to continue providing service as the region comes back to work. If Metro does not receive additional federal funding, service cuts and layoffs will be necessary beginning January 2022.
Without additional federal relief funding, the proposed budget envisions services cuts for 2022, including but not limited to the following:
- Close up to 22 Metrorail stations with low ridership or proximity to other stations.
- Operate Metrorail every 30 minutes on all lines.
- Institute turnbacks on the Red and Yellow lines.
- Consolidate the Metrobus system into 50 lines that would serve the highest ridership routes, fully or partially covering 64 existing lines.
- Cutting bus service to approximately 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
How to provide feedback
Online: Take the survey and submit written comments here.
By phone: Call toll-free 844-468-5748. Language support is provided in Arabic, Amharic, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese), Farsi, Korean, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Virtual public hearings: Four virtual public hearings will be held on March 8-10 and will streamed at wmata.com/budget and on Metro's YouTube page, YouTube.com/MetroForward. To provide oral testimony at a hearing, participants must call toll-free 512-580-8850 and enter the four-digit meeting code for the Public Hearing you’d like to attend. Meeting codes and additional information may be found here: https://www.wmata.com/initiatives/budget/
Public feedback will be provided to Metro's Board of Directors in April 2021 as part of the final decision-making process. Any Board-approved changes will begin after Board approval in April 2021.