Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld speaks to reporters during a Jan. 26 press briefing after the board held two committee sessions and regular board meeting at the transit agency's headquarters in northwest D.C. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced some changes to the agency’s proposed $1.8 billion fiscal 2018 budget.

Although the Metrorail, bus and parking fare increases are still included in the budget, the seven-day bus pass currently priced at $17.50 would remain and avoid the 25 cent per-trip increase.

“Metro listened very carefully to our customers who said they would prefer to pay a little more than lose key rail and bus services,” Wiedefeld said in a statement. “I recognize that even with some relief for customers, this proposal is tough medicine for the region, jurisdictions, riders and Metro employees, all of whom must contribute to balance this budget.”

The agency said more than 11,000 people participate in survey with 54 percent rating Wiedefeld’s original budget proposal as “very,” or “somewhat fair,” according to the agency.

Also, MetroAccess riders whose home address is eligible for service would continue to receive paratransit service.

Regarding a plan to save $5 million and eliminate certain bus routes in Maryland and Virginia, most of those routes will not change.

The statement doesn’t mention specifically which ones, but it could be discussed during the board of directors’ Finance Committee meeting Thursday. The full board may approve the budget March 23.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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