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December 1, 2020

WMATA to scale down subway services as revenues drop amid pandemic

The US-based Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is planning to scale down subway services as it anticipates a significant hit to its revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The US-based Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is planning to scale down subway services as it anticipates a significant hit to its revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The proposals for the financial year 2022 (FY2022) include ending weekend services, as well as reducing weekday operations. The plan also includes shutting down 19 stations.

The proposed budget also seeks to shrink bus services in order to cater only to essential travel and basic travel requirements.

Commonly referred to as Metro, the WMATA anticipates that the revenues for FY2022, set to begin on 1 July 2021, will be around $559.5m below pre-Covid-19 FY2021 levels.

The funding gap is expected to reach $494.5m.

At the same time, operating costs are expected to increase in the same period due to Covid-19 related expenses, contractual obligations and inflation. It also expects that ridership will improve to only 34% of pre-Covid-19 levels across all modes for the budget year.

A WMATA presentation stated: “In the face of a historic budget shortfall, the proposed FY2022 Budget preserves barebones service to sustain essential travel and to ensure the network is in place to serve regional recovery.”

According to a Reuters report, WMATA, which already made 1,400 jobs redundant, may cut an additional 2,400 jobs to reduce expenses.

The proposals are slated to be discussed later this week and will be finalised in March next year.

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