Policy changes will result in lower operating costs, higher farebox recovery
StoryWhen Metro Transit faced a $200 million budget gap in 2010 and 2011 due to plummeting sales tax revenues, the Metropolitan King County Council worked with Metro to identify savings and efficiencies to wring every available dollar into service. Those savings, combined with new policy direction from the Council on fares and service planning, are projected to pay off in Metro’s 2012-2013 Budget.
“People rely on transit to get to and from jobs and community activities, so in these difficult financial times, we have a responsibility to stretch our public transportation dollars as far as we can,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, chair of the Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee. “The numbers are in for the 2012-2013 Budget, and we can see the results of our cost-cutting and productivity measures paying off in lower operating costs and increased farebox recovery rates.”
“People in King County need more transit service than Metro can afford,” said Julia Patterson, chair of the Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. “These new policies and efficiencies ensure that the service is getting to where it is needed the most.”
“As a result of the new Strategic Plan for Public Transportation we will soon see the end of unproductive service and duplicative routes that will result in a more efficient bus system,” said Reagan Dunn, Chair of the Council’s Regional Transit Committee. “In addition, the financial crisis at Metro has forced the agency to comb its budgets for efficiencies that have resulted in tens of millions of dollars in savings. I look forward to the full implementation of these changes in the coming years and a more efficient bus system for the future.”
Previous savings and efficiencies resulted in approximately $400 million of savings, including $143 million of on-going annual savings. Metro’s 2012-2013 proposed Budget adds $18.2 million in additional efficiencies through staff reductions, space consolidation, pension reductions, and health care savings.
These efficiencies reduced Metro’s anticipated operating costs by $25 million in 2012-2013. Changes in fare and service planning policies are projected to increase Metro’s farebox recovery rate by approximately 3percent, with a farebox recovery rate over 30 percent in 2012. Metro’s cost per hour is expected to drop $6.59 by 2013. Metro’s cost per rider is also declining, showing that Metro’s service is becoming more productive.
The Metro budget is part of the County Council’s ongoing deliberations on the 2012 King County Budget, which the Council is scheduled to adopt the Monday before Thanksgiving.