WASHINGTON (DC News Now)—It could soon be cheaper for residents in the District to take public transit.
Monday, the Transportation and the Environment Committee approved the Metro for DC Amendment Act. If passed by full council, it would give district residents a monthly stipend for the WMATA.
“We’re going to make sure the cost of public transit is no longer a barrier for anyone,” said Councilmember Charles Allen, who is behind the legislation. “For the essential worker who never stopped commuting and depends on the bus and train, this is going to be a much-needed boost to their family’s budget. And for residents who have more options, this will help bring more people back to the Metro.”
The program, called the District Resident Transit Subsidy Program, would give residents $100 per month on their SmarTrip card to be used on metro rails or buses. Any unused money would not roll over from month to month.
The legislation also allocates $10 million annually for transit service and reliability improvements.
“This is so crucial, because you have to do both. You’ve got to make it more affordable and make sure service is improved,” said Allen.
According to Councilmember Mary Cheh, the subsidy program would cost an estimated $163 million annually starting in fiscal year 2025 and beyond. It’ll be funded through excess money in the budget.
“That would be awesome,” said Metro rider Kellyann Foster, who supports the idea. “I think they should do more to support people not driving in the city. I would hope it would help because it’s not busy on the Metro at all.”
Nurus Safa, who takes the Metro to classes, said it would save him the more than $80 a month he currently spends to take the subway.
“It would save me money for transportation. I am a student now,” he said.
The bill still needs full council approval.