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Metro Plans to Cut Back Late-Night Staffing at Several Downtown Stations

WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Metro will cut back late-night staffing at several downtown stations starting in the New Year. In a statement sent to DC News Now, WMATA said:

“Beginning January 1, staffing at five stations with multiple station managers will be reduced by one staff member during late nights and weekends. This change is part of Metro’s efforts to be as efficient as possible while facing unprecedented budget challenges. These entrances/exits were chosen based on data showing extremely low late-night and weekend usage. Multiple steps are being taken to support the customer experience, including self-service mobile payment and mobile trip planning.”

According to a letter sent out to staff, stations affected include Farragut West, Farragut North, Judiciary Square, L’Enfant Plaza and Smithsonian.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea at all,” said Raymond Jackson, President of ATU Local 689, which represents Metro works. “I don’t see how it’s going to work.”

Jackson believes cutting back on staff and leaving some kiosks unmanned is a safety issue for both staff and Metro riders.

“I believe it’s unsafe for you to have unmanned stations, especially right now during this climate we’re living in, in this region with the crime rate,” he said. “It opens the doors to so many other problems we have right now, like fare evasion.”

He also expressed concerns about the ability of other Metro workers to pick up the workload of the cut position.

“You’re now going to ask them to do the work of two station managers which is basically impossible,” said Jackson.

“If something happened at the other end of the station and you expect my station manager will run from one end of the station to the other end of the station, to take care of whatever the problem may be, I can tell you some of those stations are huge,” he continued. “By the time that manager gets to the other end of that station, the manager may need a paramedic themselves.”

Metro said it will continue to communicate with customers using signage at affected stations. Riders are encouraged to report any suspicious behavior to MTPD.

Source: DC News Now