News & Politics

No Station Closures, But Fares May Increase Under New Metro Budget

WMATA seemingly avoided the worst case scenario for its $750 million deficit.

Photograph by Arya Hodjat.

All 98 Metro stations in the Washington, DC, region are expected to stay open — it might just cost more to travel between them, according to a budget proposal released by WMATA on Monday.

If the budget is approved, riders on WMATA trains and buses will see a 12.5 percent increase in fares beginning on July 1. The previous worst-case scenario for Metro’s ongoing budget shortfall, in which 10 low-ridership stations and several bus routes would be shuttered permanently and the entire Metro would close at 10 PM nightly, is off the table, a WMATA spokesperson confirmed to Washingtonian.

Under the new budget proposal, Metro may also begin running more six-car trains instead of eight-car, according to WMATA.

Beyond the potential fare increases, WMATA avoided the worst-case scenario for its $750 million budget shortfall that it announced in December through an additional commitment in funds from local officials.

Last week, the DC Council pledged an additional $200 million in funding for the system; Maryland’s proposed budget for its upcoming legislative session includes $150 million for WMATA, while Virginia is set to contribute $130 million, pending the passage of bills currently in the state legislature, according to WMATA.

WMATA is unique among U.S. transit systems in that its funding does not come from one dedicated source, but rather contributions from three separate jurisdictions. The recent budget shortfall prompted some regional leaders, among them Metro GM Randy Clarke, to call for a regional tax to permanently fund the agency.

Arya Hodjat
Editorial Fellow