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Metro Budget Gap Expands Due To Riders' New Fare Card Habits

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By Natalie Neumann

Metro riders are leaving less money unused on fare cards than in the past, and the transit agency says even if it's just a few cents that's one more reason Metro is in an economic pinch.

Metro is saying it's earning less money as passengers utilize the reloadable SmartTrip cards and waste less. According to the Washington Examiner, metro says the shift means the agency can't count on an estimated $11 million in next year's proposed budget. The problem is one of the factors causing the $175 million gap in Metro's $1.4 billion budget.

The agency's chief financial officer told board members for the past two years Metro assumed it could tap about 5 percent of fares when riders failed to use all the funds on their cards.

Metro could seek fare increases and cut services next year to fill the budget gap.

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