WASHINGTON (AP) — The struggling transit agency that serves the nation’s capital is cutting 500 jobs to save money.

Metro’s general manager Paul Wiedefeld told employees in a memo that the jobs he’s eliminating “are no longer deemed critical to Metro’s business interests.” Many of them were vacant positions.

Wiedefeld also fired 20 managers last month. He announced the latest cuts on Monday, the same day smoke from a smoldering bolt at the Gallery Place station sent one person to the hospital.

Metro is in the midst of a 9-month maintenance blitz to improve safety and reliability, which requires segments of track to be shut down for weeks at a time.

The system has 13,000 employees. Their union’s statement said “financial responsibility can be achieved without excessive harm to Metro’s workforce.”

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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