Metro Considering Weekend Closure at Midnight to Make time for Track Repairs

Photo of metro map circa 1996 by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

The Washington Post’s Ann Tyson tweets this morning:

Metro deputy Dave Kubicek said if Metro closes at midnight on Fri and Sat instead of 3 am it could gain 45 days/ year for track work.

Metro board members say public hearings should inform riders of the trade-offs from service cuts, such as gaining track work time.

Considering we get frequent WMATA alerts about maintenance closures like:

On the Blue and Orange Lines, there will be no train service between the Metro Center and L’Enfant Plaza Metrorail stations, and the two stations between — Federal Triangle and Smithsonian Metrorail stations — will be closed during the Presidents Day Holiday Weekend from 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 18, to closing on Monday, Feb. 21. During that time, the agency will undertake work to replace four track switches at the Smithsonian Metrorail station and make repairs to escalators and elevators.

Do you think it makes sense to for metro to close at midnight on weekends to free up more time for track maintenance/repair?

33 Comment

  • …Only if your goal is to shut down the economic engines of U Street 14th Street, and Adams Morgan. What a dumb idea. It is SO much better to be inconvenienced for a weekend than to put the entire nightlife of the city in jeopardy.

    • me

      I’ve gotten a bit old to do the whole go-out-in-the-city-and-drink-til-3-am-on-weekends thing, but if I were a few years younger and this happened, I’d be livid.

  • Worst. Idea. Ever.

  • Quite frankly, NO!

    Being able to travel around the city, on pubic transportation, past midnight on the weekends is vital for preventing drunk driving as well as allowing people to enjoy other parts of the city. As someone who remembers whent the metro used to close at midnight and how much of a strain it was on evening leisure activities, I can say this is a horrible idea. It means that Even the simplest things, like seeing a movie downtown become problematic when I can’t start a movie past 10:00 pm without worrying about missing my train. Furthermore, D.C., throughout all my life, has never earned the benefit of the doubt to claim that the tracks will even be in better condition if they do close early. We would probably still have the same delays and problems. Lastly stop trying to throw a bone to everyone who lives outside D.C. and gives no money to our public works while f-in over everyone who does live in the city limits. On another note, NO MORE DC FEDERAL TAXES… NO VOTE NO TAXES… AMEN!

  • That’s the worst idea ever. As it is, Metro should run 24 hours a day like the NYC subway. I don’t know why it closes earlier during the week. This is a major metropolitan city, it’s like it’s going backwards sometimes.

    • Metro does most of its track maintenance during closing hours. This is particularly an issue on the Red Line because of the underground stream leakage onto the tracks. Teams go in and patch the tunnels so that it’ll hold for another 24 hours. NYC’s system has built-in redundancy; they can sidetrack traffic while doing maintenance. You can’t do that in DC, hence the closing hours.

    • right now it needs to close daily so they can do maintenance on the tracks. the only way to avoid this is to build parallel tracks (like nyc’s express trains) or just shut down large sections of the track for a long period of time like they do in chicago or on some tracks outside of manhattan. when i lived in the bronx for one summer, they closed down every station on the 1 train north of 182nd st for two weeks. needless to say, that sucked.

      • But at least in NYC they provide shuttle buses that parallel the route of the train when they shut down stations. It’s not an ideal solution, but you can at least get from point A to B.

      • I’ve been privi to that and I know it sucks, but it sure beats having it close early EVERY day. That would suck. Unfortunately, some things end late, even work events, and $20 cabs are just not affordable to everyone. Plus, I can actually say, i feel less safe in a cab sometimes, than in the metro. Especially alone and late at night.

  • Only if you want to see a rise in drunk driving….

    Why not just fire the union and hire employees who actually do work during maintenance hours rather then sleep in the trains.

  • Does anyone else find that the numbers they use don’t add up? I’m confused…

    • 6 hours a weekend x 52 weeks is 13 days. Then you have to add in the multiplier of 5 to make it a compelling argument and that gets you to 45.

      • lol – I forgot about the multiplier! In fairness, I was thinking about it after I wrote that and it makes sense that they may not be able to get in a crew for only a 4 hour shift (between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.), whereas if they close at midnight that gives them a 7 hour window in which they can call in a crew for a full 7-8 hour shift working overnight. So they may be considering the entire midnight – 7 a.m. window as a loss. That still doesn’t get you 45 days though. Personally, I could live with a 1:30 or 2 closing time if they ran some kind of bus service that follows the Metro Routes within the city after the Metro closes.

      • 6*52=312 hours. don’t divide by 24, that just doesn’t make sense. a shift is 7-8 hrs, 312/7 hours=44.57.

  • This would be horrible. I’ve lived in a city where the trains stop at midnight on the weekends and it really does suck.

  • Absolutely not. I wonder if the bars, restaurants, theaters, clubs, etc. will put up some sort of unified position, and whether it will have any impact. I’m lucky enough to live in walking distance to U St./Adams Morgan/Chinatown/Dupont and buses to nightlife centers are pretty good from my place. Many others aren’t so lucky. If this happens there would need to be a bus service increase because every-hour service just doesn’t cut it, especially at night. Shit’s dangerous!

  • I blame the food trucks.

  • Hell no! I remember when it used to shut down at midnight in the past. I’ve had to leave theater performances before they were over, restaurants, parties, etc. because I had to catch the last metro leaving. Forget waiting for the bus at night. Cabs, please. If you don’t live in Dupont, Adams Morgan or Logan they won’t unlock the door, and please save your breath about how they’re not supposed to do that because they do. When the metro used to close early the tracks, elevators and escalators still weren’t fixed. It’s not going to make any difference now. It’s a matter of working efficiently and they don’t.

    • Ref: cabs. The key is to flag one down in a jammed nightlife area, and then jump in the cab before you tell them where you are going. I’ve had drivers bitch about taking me home (to the northernmost fringe of Petworth), but no one has ever tried to extricate me from the cab. once you are in, they aren’t going to refuse to take you. If they do, just sit there and ask them to call the police.

      By the same token, though, tip the driver nicely. It is a pain (and a little loss of income) for them to take you late at night to a location where there is little to no chance of them getting a fare back to the busy stretches of downtown DC.

  • I’ve never had a problem catching a cab to take me to/from my neighborhood. I dont live in Dupont, Admo or Logan…

    • Ok, but some of us don’t take cabs for safety reasons or because we don’t want to support cab drivers.

      • Oh, I understand not wanting to take a cab. Though the safety thing cuts both ways.

        I think the metro should be open longer hours than it is now. I’m just saying – dont make it sound like our cabs are impossible to find.

  • How about instead of doing that, they close 3 hours early Mondays and Tuesdays. Or Sundays and Mondays. Or 2 hours each of 3 days. Sounds silly at first, but it grows on you.

    Captcha: RUES

  • This is a terrible idea, frankly, they should extend service during peak hours to Ft. Totten. It doesn’t make any sense for it to just run in off-peak hours.

  • This is a wonderful idea! I, for one, would rather not subsidize 12am-3am nightlife. If not, then simply let late night fares increase to reflect the additional operating costs.

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