By: Allan M. Siegel
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (“Metro”),
which operates public bus and underground train lines, is in trouble.
After a string of safety incidents, the Federal Government has assumed
responsibility for Metro’s safety oversight, and forced Metro to
engage in the costly SafeTrack program which involves numerous repairs
to the train line that have delayed service. That, in turn, has caused
ridership and therefore revenues to fall. And that is particularly burdensome
upon Metro, which is already facing a $275 million budget shortfall and
will incur further major expenses as the SafeTrack program continues.
All of this has led Metro officials to express their worry for the future
of Metro. How can Metro deal with increased expenses and falling ridership?
One idea is to raise fares, but that may decrease ridership even further.
Another idea recently floated is to close down low-rider stations at non-peak
hours, although that idea has created some controversy since most of the
shuttered stations would fall in minority neighborhoods.
A third, Hail-Mary possibility is that the governments of the District
of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia will jointly pitch in to give Metro
extra funding. D.C.’s mayor has agreed to the suggestion that all
three jurisdictions impose a one-cent sales tax to fund Metro, but the
governors of Maryland and Virginia have resisted this idea.
Time will tell what Metro’s future will be. In the meantime, however,
the most important task is to make sure that train riders are not exposed
to needless danger of injury or even death. If you have been wrongfully
injured while using Metro services, you should
contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel,
P.C., for a free consultation.