[Source: Mike Branom, East Valley Tribune] — Metro light rail believes it has found a solution to its budget woes: Smaller trains running with less frequency. Facing a $1.3 million deficit in the coming fiscal year, the agency is considering as a cost-cutting measure the occasional use of single-car trains. Also, Sunday’s schedule would be cut back, with any given station seeing in an hour three trains rather than the current four.
According to Metro, these changes, plus unspecified cuts in administrative costs, will result in an annual savings of $885,000. Making up the rest of the deficit is the expectation fare revenue will rise in the coming year. Metro’s Rail Management Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday on the proposed $33.7 million budget. If approved, the budget will go before the board of directors later this month.
Since the 20-mile cross-Valley system opened in December, almost all of the trains running use two vehicles, each of which can carry 225 passengers. During large events, such as President Barack Obama’s appearance at the recent graduation ceremony for Arizona State University, three-car trains are used. [Note: To read the full article, click here. To review related East Valley Tribune editorial on merging of mass transit organizations in the Valley, click here.]