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Alexandria Tells Financially Crippled Metro to Keep Buses Running in West End

Alexandria is opposed to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s plan to eliminate bus routes in the West End to the Pentagon, and has asked the transit system to reconsider its proposed service changes.

“These are difficult times for all transit agencies and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is facing a dire financial crisis,” Mayor Justin Wilson wrote on Facebook. “While cuts are necessary, we have provided input to ensure that Alexandria’s most vulnerable populations do not lose mobility and that as ridership returns, service should return.

Wilson told Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld in an October 16 letter that “some of the bus service cuts may have too great a negative impact on our essential workers and travelers who have limited other options for getting to where they need to go.”

Earlier this month, Metro asked for public feedback on its proposed cuts.

“The pandemic has cost Metro hundreds of millions of dollars and ridership remains extremely low,” WMATA said in a public survey. “The service provided today is only possible thanks to federal funding (CARES Act) that will soon run out. Without additional federal help, Metro will have to use every option to balance the budget. This includes resuming Metrobus fare collection, limiting contractor use, furloughing employees, and deferring some capital program expenses. But service cuts and layoffs may also be needed this December.”

Specifically, Wilson said that the city is concerned about service cuts from the West End of Alexandria to the Pentagon with cuts to the 8’s and 21’s.

“WMATA is proposing $20 million more in cuts that it is budgeting will be necessary,” Wilson wrote. “Therefore, the City encourages you to consider restoring a greater level of bus service with that funding.”

Wilson continued, “While we understand that these routes may not be the most productive, they do serve a high share of low-income and households of color, who may work as janitorial or other support staff at the Pentagon, use the Pentagon to connect to other work centers in the region, and not get commuter benefits or have good alternative transportation options.”

These are difficult times for all transit agencies and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is facing a dire…

Posted by Justin Wilson on Thursday, October 22, 2020

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