WASHINGTON, DC - Several dozen people spoke in opposition to proposed service cuts to Metro during a 9.5-hour public input session on Thursday.
"I strongly urge you to reject the proposals in front of you to cut service," said Michael Halpern.
This was the only public input session regarding the proposed cuts, but the transit authority has been taking comments online and Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said there have almost 10,000 responses so far. Comments will continue to be accepted until 5 p.m. on October 25.
Wiedefeld is proposing four possible changes to Metro's operating hours. Currently, during the year-long SafeTrack maintenance program, Metro is closed for an extra six hours as work crews perform inspections, repairs, and maintenance.
Wiedefeld wants to make this change in service permanent and add another two hours to this extra work time, for a total of eight additional hours for work crews. If approved, this would give crews 41 hours of maintenance time versus the 33 hours they had before the start of SafeTrack.
"We’re a big city and we must act like one and ending late night service indefinitely is a non-starter," said Washington, D.C. Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, one of several elected officials from around the region who provided comments during the hearing.
A breakdown of the proposed service changes can be found here.
Wiedefeld said he understands peoples concerns about cuts, but added he has to balance service and safety.
"At the end of the day, I had to get them home safe no matter what hours we provide and that’s what I’m going to do," said Wiedefeld.
The proposals will be presented to the Metro Board of Directors in November and a decision by them is expected in December.