Metro’s board of directors will meet Thursday and is expected to approve a $4.8 billion fiscal 2023 budget that includes proposals reviewed in the fall to reduce rail and bus fares and increase train service.
Some of the fare proposals are a $2 late-night rail fare for one-way trips after 9:30 p.m. until closing, implementing the $12 seven-day regional bus pass that went into effect in September, and reducing rates for monthly passes from $72-$216 to $64 -$192.
Another goal will be improving late-night frequency on Metrorail from 15 minutes to 10 minutes on the Red Line and 20 minutes to 15 minutes on the Blue, Green, Orange, Silver and Yellow lines.
Metrorail stations plan to operate two additional hours on Fridays and Saturdays until 1 a.m. and open an hour earlier on Sundays at 7 a.m.
However, the increase in rail service depends on when railcars such as the more modern 7000-series trains the transit agency pulled after one of the trains derailed Oct. 12 along the Blue Line near the Arlington Cemetery station in Northern Virginia.
Several bus routes added last year are slated to remain, including Routes 31 and 33 along Wisconsin Avenue in D.C., Route D12 along Southern in Suitland in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and the 7A Route at Lincolnia-North Fairlington in Northern Virginia.
In terms of personnel, Metro anticipates slightly more than 12,900 employees next fiscal year. In comparison, about 12,335 are on the payroll in the current fiscal year.
Before the board’s Finance and Capital Committee recommended approval on March 10, Metro held three hybrid public hearings last month with 19 people who appeared in person. Another 16 gave audio testimony and nine commented via video.
In total, the agency received more than 3,000 comments such as letters from residents and nonprofit organizations.
“By maintaining bus services, improving frequency on some lines and restoring some of the lines cut during the pandemic, [Metro] is ensuring that the essential workers that have held up our economy and services during the pandemic can count on getting where they’re going, which is vital to our regional economic and social recovery,” said Caitlin Rogger, Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation, in a letter she wrote last month to the Metro board.
If approved, the budget would go into effect on July 1.