What are we Greece? Austerity Measures Continue for Metro

metro
Photo by PoPville flickr user John Sonderman

From WMATA:

“Facing a nearly $300 million budget gap, Metro will close most in-person sales offices effective Tuesday, November 15, 2016. The move is part of a series of internal actions Metro is taking to reduce expenses and minimize the impact of possible fare increases and service reductions next year.

Four Metro sales offices – located at Metro Center, Pentagon, Anacostia and Northern Bus Garage – will be closed. On average, each of the four offices handles fewer than 200 transactions per day.

Metro estimates that only 0.03 percent (three hundredths of a percent) of riders will be impacted by the closures, because the overwhelming majority of Metro sales transactions can be performed at station fare vending machines, online at wmata.com, regional commuter stores, or at retail outlets including CVS and Giant stores. In recent years, Metro sales offices have seen a significant decline in usage while their cost to operate has increased.

The sales office at Metro Headquarters, located at 600 Fifth Street NW, Washington, DC, will continue to offer full service weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.”

11 Comment

  • I concur with this – provided WMATA ups its game and improves the website.
    Also, you are a transit agency – not a jobs program. Lets make cuts that do not diminish your ability to deliver on your number one mission – moving people around the DC metro area as easily and swiftly as possible. We got where we are because we weren’t funded appropriately. We need to fix that not cut our selves our of this. You don’t dig yourself out of hole by digging more. People left WMATA because it was broken, cutting it will drive more people away – we need to invest in WMATA to bring back riders and improve service so it becomes the preferred alternative to cars, uber, taxis…Come on Paul!

    • “We got where we are because we weren’t funded appropriately.” Not just that, though — poor management, no culture of safety, etc., etc.

  • Might be a dumb question, but why do they have in-person sales offices anyway? Seems like a poor alternative to buying a metro card at a kiosk in any station?

    • I know that to get a senior-citizen SmarTrip card (which allows you to ride at half price), you have to go to a Metro sales office in person. (My dad had to do this to get his.)
      .
      Not sure what else really requires an in-person interaction.

    • Back when I had a monthly TransitLink Card (unlimited MARC + unlimited Metro), if the magnetic strip deactivated, as it often did over the course of 30 days, I had to bring it to an in-person sales office to have it replaced. There are probably other edge cases that require in-person interactions.

    • In-person sales offices pre-date SmartTrip cards being for sale at Giant, CVS, and online. You could also trade in your paper(!) transit benefits for passes/cards, apply for the senior discount card, and other transactions. Technology has just made these kiosks obsolete. (I remember the lines being 50-60 deep at lunch hour.)
      The Sales office at HQ will still be open as well as the commuter stores in the area. Kudos to Metro for trying to make efficient cuts.

      • Yes, I bought my first SmarTrip card at the Metro Center sales office back in the day. That is the one and only time I ever used the sales office and that role is obsolete so from my personal experience along with reading the low volume they service overall, I think this is a logical cut.

  • Having used Metro for approaching 30 years, I have never once visited an in-person sales office. Sure it’s going to annoy some people (less than 200 a day though, it seems), but this seems like an obvious choice for elimination.

  • So metro has been driving me insane lately but I had an issue with my SmartTrip benefits and the customer service at 6:45pm was fantastic. Needed to give a little credit so I’ll stop there.

  • To be fair, the offices don’t really function anyway. So no big loss.

  • No, because Athens has a nicer metro, better regional rail, and superior overall public transportation.

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