For immediate release: March 7, 2024

A year into strategic plan, Metro marks improvements in ridership, customer satisfaction, public safety and fare collection while reducing expenses

Transformation program includes road map to autonomous trains, zero-emission buses and digitization to improve productivity and safety compliance

Sent on behalf of the WMATA Board of Directors

According to the first annual report on the results of Metro’s Board-approved strategic plan, Your Metro, The Way Forward, bus and rail ridership increased more than 4.5 million trips a month over the previous year, fueled by frequent, reliable, and safe service. Nearly half of Metrobus customers saw buses arrive every 12 minutes or less, and more than half of rail customers saw trains arrive every six minutes or less, on average.

The strategic plan also called for creative measures to reduce crime and improve customer perception of security. Crisis intervention specialists, partnerships with local law enforcement for enhanced station patrols, and more patrols onboard trains and buses have reduced Part I (violent) crimes by 14%.

“As reflected in the unprecedented levels of customer satisfaction, the investment in service frequency, reliability and security is helping people choose to come back to Metro and earning new customers,” said Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg. “We are able to make substantial customer and service improvements, all while lowering our costs and becoming more operationally efficient.”

While providing more frequent service, Metro has reduced costs by $183 million through one-time budget actions, newly identified recurring operating cost efficiencies and salary/wage freezes. Metro has also sized trains to match ridership demand, launching its first six-car trains on its newest rail car fleet. Financially, Metro has outperformed expense projections with tight management controls, had a clean independent audit for the ninth straight year, and maintained its AA bond rating, keeping the cost of borrowing in check. At the end of the second quarter, Metro is tracking under its projected operating budget.

Metro’s efforts to install new fare gates, as part of a program of enhanced enforcement, have reduced fare evasion in targeted stations by 70%.

The annual report, released today with metrics showing progress over the first year of the plan’s implementation, shows that targets were exceeded in key areas that advance our region’s goals, including reductions in greenhouse emissions. Metro’s emissions reduction saved the equivalent of driving about 200 million miles in an average gasoline-powered car.

“All these achievements in the past year have been possible because of the culture transformation underway at Metro. Internally, we are changing the way we approach our work including identifying efficiencies, introducing new ways to recognize and empower employees, and streamlining internal processes,” Smedberg said. “Through unprecedented collaboration across Metro and a new organizational structure, these efforts are already showing benefits.”

In tandem with the annual report, the Board is discussing with staff action plans that deliver a road map for autonomous trains, zero-emissions buses, and sweeping digitization to improve productivity and compliance. The full report is available to the public here.