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Metro's thinking of rolling back hours to 12 on weekends: astonishingly BAD idea.

February 10, 2011

Metro’s thinking of rolling back hours to 12 on weekends: astonishingly BAD idea. Victims: restaurants/employees/consumers/regional economy…

Washington, DC - February 11, 2011 – Yesterday, in a Metro Board committee meeting, the most astonishingly bad idea was proposed to help close Metro’s budget gap…roll back closing hours on weekends to midnight.

We have come a long, long way from the bad old days of deserted, dilapidated and dangerous commercial districts during the evening hours and few destination restaurant and entertainment neighborhoods. The establishment and growth of vibrant areas such as Penn Quarter, Ballston, U/14th Street Corridors and Clarendon are directly attributable to transportation access for patrons, visitors and employees.

Early closing hours for Metro will seriously harm, if not kill, established and emerging entertainment districts for a whole slew of reasons: commuting for employees becomes untenable; the temptation to drink and drive increases when public transportation options are reduced; even if you wanted to drive you probably couldn’t because of recent draconian restrictions of, rate hikes on and reduced numbers of parking spaces in DC; and safety becomes a greater issue as transportation options become restricted. Beyond the obvious, immediate effect on simply getting around, restricted Metro hours will negatively impact the nightlife economy.

RAMW distributed a survey to its membership the last time this issue was raised to gage the impact of proposed reduced service hours on weekends. Their responses painted a bleak picture of a region taking serious steps backwards. Comments from our members: “We would potentially lose 75% of our [closing] kitchen staff who all rely on Metrorail to get home.” “This would devastate our business.” “This would have a drastic effect on our customers and it would adversely affect our employees’ ability to get home from work.” ‘Nough said? Apparently not; we’ve fought this battle before and still these threats to service come up every time there is a budget crisis.

Whatever Metro gains by cutting services, the region will lose many times over in lost wages, collected taxes and quality of life. We need to take service hour reductions off the table once and for all.

Contact: Betsy Allman