By David Schultz
At a church in Southeast D.C., Debra Jones is pleading with several Metro managers not to cut her bus service.
For dramatic effect, she reaches into her purse and pulls out a SmarTrip card.
"I've been riding the bus all my life," says Jones, waving the card in the air. "If it wasn't for Metro, I wouldn't go anywhere. This is like life and death to me. "
This is one of Metro's public hearings on its drastically scaled-back budget.
The last one, held earlier this week in Northern Virginia, drew only a couple dozen people. But in Southeast D.C., they ran out of seats.
Jones says, without bus service, this part of town would be isolated:
"If you cut this off, how are we going to get into the city? I love Metro. Metro is my lifeline," she says.
Metro is considering eliminating dozens of bus lines to fill a $189 million budget shortfall. Metro's next public hearing is scheduled for this Monday at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Lanham, Maryland.