A potential policy presented to the The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority last week suggested cutting late service on Friday and Saturday nights. Under the proposed plan, trains would stop at 12 midnight instead of at 3 a.m., the current time.

The board of directors suggested the plan as one way to address the $72 million deficit projected in Metro’s 2012 budget without increasing fares.

“In a time of scarce resources and great needs, it is vital that Metro efficiently and effectively expend the investments that we have been given,” Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles said in a January 27 address to the board.

Closing three hours earlier on Fridays and Saturdays would save $5 million annually and allow extra time for maintenance operations, according to the Washington Examiner.

A cut to late-night schedules is not yet an official proposal, said Metro spokesperson Steven Taubenkibel. However, even the chance that Metro leaders are considering closing early worries some passengers.

Kaley Alberty (COL ’11) said that while the cuts might be better than more fare increases, they would have a negative impact on her life.

“I live off campus and that would be particularly harmful to me because I rely on the Metro to get back home,” she said.

Some students said they didn’t think the cuts would affect Georgetown students much because GUTS busses stop running before 3 a.m.

“We actually don’t take the Metro that much after midnight anyway because we don’t have a Metro stop,” said Elise McKenna (MSB ’12). “If you actually reflect, Georgetown is not a high traffic place.”

Each weekend, around 16,800 people use the Metro between 12 midnight and 3 a.m., according to an official Metro 2012 Budget Update.

Calculated using the Washington Post Taxi Fare Calculator, taxi rides to suburbs like Bethesda or College Park can run from $20 to $30, a price significantly higher than that of a Metro ticket.

Seungah Lee (SFS ’12) said she was opposed to the Metro cuts because cabs are the only late night alternative and are much more expensive.

“I’m out on weekends and I pretty much rely on the Metro to get around,” she said.

Taubenkibel said that late-night hours remain in the budget, at least for now, and that the late night cuts are only one of many ideas that the directors are considering.

Another money-saving strategy under consideration is an appeal for local contributions. Under this plan, D.C., Maryland and Virginia governments would be asked to supply funding to reduce the cost of day-to-day railway operation.

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