Massive Metro News – “propose closing the Metrorail system at 10 p.m. on Sunday nights and continue midnight closures on all other nights beyond the conclusion of the one-year SafeTrack program”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Hugh Clarke


“To support long-term maintenance strategy, Metro GM to propose closing rail system at 10 p.m. on Sundays and midnight every other night on a permanent basis

Following rail expert and peer transit agency recommendations, Metro GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld plans to propose closing the Metrorail system at 10 p.m. on Sunday nights and continue midnight closures on all other nights beyond the conclusion of the one-year SafeTrack program. The move will require Board approval following a public engagement process this fall.

Under the proposed schedule, the Metrorail system would be open 127 out of 168 hours in a week. Prior to SafeTrack, the system was open 135 hours per week. The additional track time increases safety and reliability by giving workers the time and space they need to keep Metro’s infrastructure in a state of good repair.

To inform this recommendation, Wiedefeld engaged peer transit agencies and rail engineering consultants, all of whom urged that the focus on track safety and maintenance continue to prevent Metro from sliding backward.

Earlier this year, Wiedefeld announced a one-year accelerated maintenance plan, called “SafeTrack,” which includes expanded track access through midnight closings on weekends (on a temporary basis), a moratorium on early openings or late closings, and expanded track work during midday and evening hours. The plan is intended to achieve three years’ worth of work in one year and allow work crews to eliminate a maintenance backlog and address safety recommendations from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Wiedefeld is expected to formally propose the change at Thursday’s 11 a.m. Board of Directors’ meeting.”

157 Comment

  • skj84

    Oh hell no. All the no’s. What petition do I have to sign? Who do we lobby? Eff this insanity, are they trying to kill the momentum on DC’s nightlife scene? What about people who work late? What about people who work 3rd shift. This is a load of malarky.

    • Even though I assumed this would happen, still agree this is BS.

    • To all you people working late, why dont you just take an Uber Pool? It is faster, cleaner, safer, easier, more reliable, more climate controlled, generally vastly superior in every conceivable way to metro, and at often $3 in town, it’s hardly any more expensive.

      Problem solved. I say let them close for as long as they want, but we have to demand better metro service for these kinds of sacrifices.

      • You’re forgetting about the service industry folks often commuting from the burbs who cannot afford this option.

      • You do know that there are people out there who don’t even own smart phones, right? And a lot of those people work poor hours at low-wage jobs, right?

        • +1. People in my family still don’t have smart phones because they just can’t afford them. On a daily basis I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be able to get where I need to in this city relatively on time because I have the luxury of being able to check for delays on my phone, estimate arrival times, and get an uber if I need it.

      • skj84

        Uberpool surges as well. I don’t think i’ve ever paid less then $5.00 Not everyone has a smartphone. Not everyone lives in the city. Not everyone has discretionary money to spend on ride share. Not everyone has the time to wait around for another person to pick up a ride.

        • Uber has done away with surges for UberX and UberPool

          • Surge pricing is alive and well. They just don’t show you the multiple being charged anymore when you’re booking. You get a price estimate, which applies any current surge pricing. “Like uberX, surge pricing applies to uberPOOL trips. Even when surge pricing is in effect, you’ll receive a guaranteed fare before requesting, so you always know exactly what you’ll pay.”

          • But don’t the prices still surge? A typical $15 ride the other day cost me $20 and there was no explicit surge message or lightning bolt.

          • Yep. Its still surging, just not showing as surge prices. I got a ride from Manny and Olga’s on H Street to my house that normally cost $5.00. It was almost $7. Not a huge difference, but certainly a surge.

          • +1 to all of the above. I think Uber’s whole point in changing how surge appears was to try to trick people (like geotherm21). Clearly it’s working.

      • This is definitely an easy answer for people who are lucky enough to live in in the downtown core neighborhoods, with disposable income, and time to spare. It is obviously not a viable answer to people getting out of work late night or live in the outer neighborhoods, EOTR, or in MD. Most shift workers tend to not live in the convenient, walkable, or even UBERable neighborhoods. And no one wants to stand around and wait for UBER Pool when your shift ends in the middle of the night. I know because half our household income comes from shift work. Not all shift workers are poor but most still can’t spare that kind of time.

        • HaileUnlikely

          I would love to see actual data on the demographics and trip purposes of rides that occur during the hours in question. I know lots of low-wage workers who work in downtown DC and then take multiple buses home to Wheaton, Glenmont, College Park, etc during hours when the trains are running, because even though it takes considerably longer, it’s the choice they make due to the bus/train cost differential. I’m not saying that this won’t hurt shift workers, but I’m not convinced that all or even a substantial percentage of those on metro at those hours are shift workers.

          • skj84

            I can’t speak for everyone, but 2 years ago I was one of those late night shift worker riders. And so were most of my coworkers. I lived in Chevy Chase at that time and it was a huge difference between taking a $2.00 metro ride or paying $25 i.e almost 2 hours pay, to get back to MD. I can remember shifts where I just barely got the metro on time, and paying that cab ride would put serious hurt on my wallet. I worked in a hotel downtown at the time which was open 24/7. The hotel didn’t offer parking, so we were pretty much dependent on metro.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Of course shift workers aren’t going to take taxis for long distances home from work daily. What I am saying is that most of those who I know take the bus rather than the train, because the train is relatively expensive itself (especially for somebody who doesn’t live near a train station and would have to pay for another bus to get home from the train station anyway)

          • Something else to consider- the late night buses on popular routes out of the city (like the S buses to Silver Spring) were absolutely packed late at night even while metro was still providing metro service past midnight. The buses would be full by mid-downtown and would bypass nearly everyone on 16th street, leaving people to wait another 20+ minutes for the next full bus. They have not increased bus service since safe track went into effect and I’ve noticed those buses are full even earlier on the S line since metro started closing earlier on weekends.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Good point Anon. I sincerely hope that Metro will do something to address the issue of full buses late at night.

          • @HaileUnlikely I’ve tried emailing them about it, but I never saw anything happen. Regular 9-5 riders of the S line made a huge stink about full buses and WMATA responded pretty quickly (although I think they’ve quietly started cutting back service at least in the morning). I hope others will raise the issue, as I know it’s tough for a lot of service workers without access to a smart phone or computer to lodge those types of complaints.

      • Uber pool is an absolute joke. Lately, I’ve found their late night service on weekends is identically priced to a private uberX. The last few times I’ve tried to use pool I’ve been given ride estimates of $10-15 for a 1.5 mile ride. The difference between pool and uberx has been only been about $0.50. Uber jacks up the pool prices like crazy in busy areas, that it doesn’t even make sense to consider it. Late night transportation in the city is a disaster.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          I usually only take it short distances, but the cost differential is usually $2-3 for me (i.e., $3-4 with pool or $5-7 without).

      • Not everyone has the privilege that you dont even acknowledge to have…

      • Ok, Mr Moneybags

  • It might as well just be open 6am-10am and 4pm-8pm if they want to play this game.

  • This is fcking stupid. Even more stupid then my intentional misspelling of “the f word” that I did to get my cursing past the censors which I am not even sure exist.

  • palisades

    This might be Wiedefeld’s first misstep. Seems very short sighted

  • Seriously?
    Aside from this really sucking for any employees who work after midnight, I’m pretty sure none of my friends who live in VA or MD are ever going to want to go out with me in the District ever again. It’s too expensive to get back and drinking and driving is not an option.

  • No no no no no. Are they trying to turn DC into even more of a joke city? This is not ok.

    • The Tube operates 5AM to Midnight Monday – Saturday. London is a total joke city right?

      • Actually, yes. Cabs are ridiculously expensive. My friends studying abroad in London don’t go out at night unless they can walk home. It’s a big problem there.

      • Actually, the Tube is planning to introduce 24-hour service on certain lines on the weekends. It was supposed to start with the Northern Line, but last time I was there, it hadn’t kicked in yet.
        But London also has an extensive network of night buses. If you miss the last tube, it might take you a good while longer to get home… but you can still get home via public transportation.

        • Yup… you’re not stranded trying to figure out which random buses to take to recreate your Tube route.

          That’s one thing that worries me about this — I don’t have a lot of faith that WMATA will put together a decent bus system that mirrors the rail lines, which a lot of people seem to be assuming is a given. The last few years have been dropped ball after dropped ball as far as follow-through on their end.

          • maxwell smart

            Agreed. And honestly, what I have seen in the last several years is FEWER bus routes, not more. Now, when I miss a bus (in rush hour), it’s a 20-25 minute wait for the next one. On weekends, there is 1 bus an hour. I don’t even leave in that remote of an area.

  • And it starts…Next step will be that the “safe track” frequency rates during non-rush hour will also be made permanent. I wonder to what extent this is really due to maintenance versus falling revenues.

  • This is only okay if it’s coupled with replacement “night bus” service that mirrors the metro lines. We probably should have something like that anyway, but this is a perfect use case for it. Save money and create larger maintenance windows with only a minimal reduction in service during a low-volume but nonetheless essential ridership period.

  • I would be fine with some type of compromise: Close at midnight from Sunday-Wednesday. Close at 2am Thursday-Saturday.

    • Even closing at 1am on Friday and Saturday would be an improvement. I imagine their ridership at 3 isn’t great but you’d think a LOT of people would be riding around midnight-1am. I know I used to back in the day, before giving up on metro entirely.

    • That’s not a compromise. That’s basically what we had before, except you’re adding an extra night of late night service (Thursday).

    • You do realize metro always closed at midnight Sunday to Thursday, even before SafeTracks. Although your idea is great, I’m not sure its really a compromise to expand service beyond what it was before.

  • This decision makes sense. Repairs have to be made. Does it stink that we don’t have late night wknd service? Sure. But better that than constant problems with fires and accidents. The recent spate of accidents can be attributed in part to the expansion of wknd service several years ago. Less downtime, less time to make necessary repairs. Otherwise, we could just have a 24 hour system.

  • Keep the standard hours, but raise the price…there needs to be a way to cover the deficit.

    • You still need more downtime in order to make necessary repairs. You can fund as high as you want, but if you don’t have enough downtime, it doesn’t matter.

      • I disagree. If you had double the maintenance staff, theoretically you could get the work done in half the time.

        • Some of the repairs probably aren’t linearly related to staffing. As an oversimplified example, if you need to put three coats of paint on your fence, having 3 painters doesn’t reduce the total time required to complete the job because you have to wait for the paint to dry each time.

    • Fare increases aren’t going to solve the problem. Financial contributions to the system from Maryland, Virginia, DC, and the federal government need to be increased. The feds contribution hasn’t increased since at least 2010 and it was meager to begin with.

  • …and metro ridership will continue to plummet. At least make the reduction of hours less of a financial burden to us. If we are going to be inconvenienced at least give riders a discount!. At one point Lyft and Uber were offering up to 50% off weekday rides to ease the cost of ridesharing for during SafeTrack, I just got an alert from Lyft saying it was extending this through the end of July, anyone else getting these alerts?

    Other than SafeTrack what else is Metro doing to improve SAFETY and crime in the metro stations? I have relatives who are visually impaired and they said how most of the stations do not accommodate those who have issues with their vision. Brighter lighting in stations, more attentive station managers, Metro employees walking through rail cars, etc.

    Lastly did anyone experience the clusterF that was Dupont Circle metro station during rush hour yesterday? All three escalators on the north end were closed and there was a line to take the (slow) elevator up to get out of the station. Talk about unsafe, dangerous (heat inside the station, alerting people to exit the south side in the 97 degree heat and walk additional blocks to get to the north end). Ok so add ELEVATOR upgrades to the list. What’s the plan for that?

    Come on Paul, what’s GOOD?

    *end scene”

  • I think a little perspective is in order. No one rides the train late night. We know this. Last spring, before metro cut the late hours till midnight they published the numbers. A grand total of 7500 people took metro rail between the hours of midnight and 3:00 am, or 2500 people an hour.

    Considering the sheer number of people who live in DC and the close environs, and the legion of employees it takes to keep all 91 stations open and system staffed, it seems like a no brainer. 2500 riders an hour is nothing, so hyperbole aside this isn’t affecting large numbers of late night employees or bar patrons.

    • And this is less about the number of employees that it takes to run the system in the extra hours, and more about the downtime needed to make repairs. You need time when trains aren’t running to make necessary repairs.

    • those 2,500 riders probably don’t think it’s nothing.

      • HaileUnlikely

        When the whole system is up and running for 3 hours and a grand total of 7500 people use it, the cost per ride is probably a large multiple of what it would cost if we could somehow devise a way to identify those 7500 riders and pay for taxi rides for every single one of them. Yes, it is important that people who work low wage jobs late at night have a reliable way to get home. But there has to be some balance. If the system used to be open 24/7 and we were talking about scaling back to close at 3 AM daily we’d be having the exact same conversation.

      • Every business has to run a cost-benefit analysis, though. Public transportation isn’t a human right and isn’t given to us as a gift from the heavens. If those numbers are correct, it probably costs way too much to justify running at those times. It’s a tough break for the folks who rely on it. We’re living in a world of limited resources–if this is truly about supporting maintenance, it seems better to disadvantage the fewest people rather than continuing SafeTrack or even shutting the system for extended periods.

        • Again, this isn’t about cost. It’s about system downtime. When you’re only closed for 3 hours on a wknd night, you can’t make many repairs.

        • Public transportation may not be a human right, but there are Title VI implications to cutting off low income/minority riders.

        • Sorry buddy, but mass public transportation isn’t around to make money. Infrastructure in general does not make money (or so little) because that is not its goal. It’s an enabler just like the interstates. They don’t make money, screw the interstates, right ?

          • But projects aren’t supposed to be money-losing boondoggles, either. Buddy.

          • National parks, libraries, the national zoo, the smithsonians and even rural roads are all money loosing “boondoggles” so you think we should stop funding them as well?

          • Apparently, Cleveland Park runner thinks the roads he is running on mysteriously hatch money at night paying for themselves

          • I hardly equivocate a museum with keeping the “booze” train running till the wee hours of the morning so a minuscule handful of people can stay out late drinking

      • So what? Reality is that there won’t be a repair system that has zero downside. 2,500 is a tiny fraction of Metro ridership and a relative small cost to pay.

    • But how many of those people traveled between midnight and 1am for example? Would the fares from keeping the metro open until 1am on weekends outweigh the savings from closing an hour earlier? I would love to see some transparency from WMATA on the numbers here…

      • This isn’t about saving money. It’s about having downtime for necessary repairs. You need time when the cars aren’t running to make repairs.

        • maxwell smart

          Understood. But they are not doing repairs on the entire system every night. Rotating single-tracking would give them the time to do the repairs while also keeping the system running.

          • Do you work for Metro? If so, please provide incite on how they rotate late night repairs.

          • I agree with ***. Also, how much is 2 extra hours a week going to accomplish if the subway were to stay open until 1am? That seems like a compromise to me. You realize that this is ad infititum closures AFTER a YEAR of SafeTrack, don’t you FanofNewGM?
            I am also a fan of the new GM but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything he says.

          • FanofNewGM – Do YOU work for metro? Instead of asking ridiculous questions, please provide insight on how much work will actually be done in that extra time.

          • maxwell smart

            All I am saying is that I think it’s safe to say that Metro doesn’t have enough staff to deploy repair people across the entire system every single night, 7 days a week. I think it be easy enough to say each line single-tracks 1 night a week, while the rest of the system remains unaffected (for the most part) and they just follow a repair schedule. Monday – Blue, Tuesday – Red, Wednesday – Green, etc.

    • Metro doesn’t make any revenue on late service. It loses a bundle doing it, on top of reducing the time allowed for upgrades and maintenance.

      Metro charges local sports teams $30,000 an hour to keep service open late when games go long, so that seems like a decent metric to go by in terms of cost.

      So it costs Metro $90,000 to keep the system open late and only 7,500 people use it, or $12 per trip. While Metro charges peak fares for late service, they certainly don’t get close to covering even half, probably less than a 1/3rd of the cost.

      So I get that the argument isn’t about “money”, it should be and this just goes to prove that no, relatively few people are being affected (2500 people an hour in a DMV of 6 million, or a city of ~700K is nothing.) and two, they don’t make any money doing it.

    • This is a totally unfair number to cite – late-night ridership has fallen by HALF since single-tracking started in 2011. This is at the same time that the region’s population has grown quickly.

      You can’t scare people away with terrible service then claim “but no one rides anyway!”

      • Unfair? Hardly. You could quadruple that number and it would still be a tiny percentage of ridership.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Well, the question on the table is how this would impact people who presently actually do rely on the system during those hours, not how many people would be impacted in some parallel universe in which they would use the system during those hours despite not now doing so.
        Hell, if you want to use make-believe data instead of actual data, you could factor in people who presently live in other parts of the country or even other countries on the grounds that they might have moved to DC and used the system late at night if only it were more reliable.

        • Huh? Someone argued that late night ridership is too low to care about. I pointed out that WMATA had driven a specific & huge portion of riders away with massive headways over the last five years. Don’t see how that’s “make believe.”

          • HaileUnlikely

            Well, if we don’t want fires and derailments and mayhem and death on metro (can we please just stipulate that for the sake of argument?), the plausible alternatives to closing are going to require the single-tracking that has driven so many people away from using it at those times. Basically, given the extent of deferred maintenance in the system, having the system operating 100% after midnight is pure fantasy. Either it is going to continue to be open but with the late-night single-tracking that has already driven away all but 2500 people per hour, or it is going to be closed. Given that, the aforementioned 2500 people per hour seems like the best estimate of persons impacted by the closure, relative to the actual alternative. Sure, we could try to estimate the number of people who would use the metro if it were open until 3 AM and operating at 100%, but it never will be, so that is a number that doesn’t mean anything.

  • This will have massive, negative effects on the DC economy.

    • How exactly?

      7500 people spread across 3 hours total in a region with 6 million people isn’t a lot of bar goers or late night workers.

      • maxwell smart

        For me, it’s the knowledge that I could take the metro home, whether I choose to or not, that allows me to stay out late. Granted, with Uber and Lyft it’s much better – in the days of cabs, I would get stranded because none of the cabs wanted to venture north of Adams Morgan. If people have to end their nights at 10pm to get home, then why bother going out at all?

        • You answered your own question, you don’t have to end your night at 10. You have countless options, taxi’s, Uber, LYFT, Bikeshare, designated driver, so on and so forth. You have more options now than you did when Metro didn’t even have late hours to begin with (2010).

          • maxwell smart

            I have more options now because A: I can afford them and B: enough ride-sharing services have cropped up that will provide the services that DC cabs either refuse or fail to provide.

      • Oh you’re right! Every world class city on Earth has extended-hours rail service but DC just doesn’t need it! LOL

        You also think this will only impact the number of people cutrently riding late night (assuming that number could never grow as DC grows and businessss expand), and you assume that the 7500 people will ride metro at times other than late-night rather than dump Metro altogether. If I have to get a new job out of DC because I can’t get home from my shift, or buy a car, my use of Metro will be much lower than just removing late-night trips. You seem really intent to defend this decision based on a single, static, data point. That’s not how the world works.

        • A single point? Hourly ridership and associated revenue are two points. What statistically relevant points have you provided?

          Every world class city? NYC is the only one with 24/7 service. Chicago shuts down all lines except for the blue line at midnight, Philly and Boston the same.

          London’s tube carries 7 times the number of people DC Metro rail does and only operates from 5am to midnight monday-saturday and closes at 11 on Sunday.


        • Actually, that’s not true. London, Boston, SF all shut rail service at midnight.

          • maxwell smart

            ACTUALLY… London is in the process of rolling out Night Tube on select lines to provide 24 hour service. Where London is expanding, DC is cutting back.

          • Sure, but they haven’t started yet, is only a few lines, and we have yet to see the long term effects of the 24 hr service (which is only two days a week).

          • And London just modernized their entire system. We sure as hell haven’t done that.

          • The 24-hour service that the Tube is introducing is only for Fridays and Saturdays… but that makes it more parallel to Metorail’s (former) situation anyway, as far as offering late-night service on Friday and Saturday nights.
            It’s misleading to describe it as “only a few lines.” The Night Tube will start with two lines (Central and Victoria) in August and will add another three lines (Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly) in the fall… but that covers most of the lines that serve significant distances.

  • I had always assumed that 3 am closures would never return, but the 10 PM closure on Sunday is ridiculous. What other transit agencies/engineers did Metro consult on this? No other system I can think of anywhere near Metro’s size closes that early on any night.

    I echo the suspicion that this is partly for budget reasons. I also wonder if this is an extreme opening proposal to keep attention on the issue (remember the proposal to close the entire system for up to six months, and how that quickly turned into SafeTrack?)

  • maxwell smart

    Look. I get that the system needs constant maintenance and the lack thereof is why we are in the situation we are in today. I get that said maintenance takes man hours and the current schedule doesn’t provide enough time to really get much done.

    That said, this is terrible proposal. For starters – why is necessary to close the entire system at midnight? Are they really going to be working on every line, every rail? Why not close segments at 10pm on a rotating basis or shift to single-tracking after 10pm in rotating zones? There’s already a limited amount of trains late at night so this doesn’t seem hard to sequence.

    This places a huge burden on people who work late – if the system closes at midnight, last trains in some stations will be around 11:15. For a lot of commercial employees – retail, restaurant – they might not make the last train, which either incentives driving or places more of financial burden on people who will now have to use cabs, Uber, etc. to get home. Not to mention the people supporting said establishments who either will just not go out in the city anymore OR will be encouraged to drive drunk.

    • Ssystem closing at X time” doesn’t actually mean “all trains in the system have stopped running at X time.”
      For example, at U Street Metro Station, the last northbound train on weeknights (and now apparently forever) is at 12:21 a.m.
      I reluctantly accepted the necessity of closing Metro at midnight on weekends during SafeTrack… but I am skeptical that it’s actually necessary to close it at midnight permanently. Yes, the advent of Uber and Lyft means that people have more options now for late-night travel… but still.
      Whether the midnight-closure thing lasts beyond SafeTrack or not, D.C. really needs a decent system of night buses.

  • If we just close down the metro entirely then they’ll have time for all the maintenance in the world!

    But seriously, what’s the point of the Metro if it isn’t available? If we can’t have a system that meets the need, why even bother?

    • Speaking of which, I guess we aren’t NYC at least? Although I’m sure the bus service must be better.

      • This! I was just thinking about the L train shutdown (especially since I use it when I’m in the city to visit my aunt). And in all honesty, we can’t compare NY to DC or any of these other “world class city” subway lines because there are no local/express lanes (and multiple tracks) like other cities have. And there aren’t as many options in DC. So when one of those other cities (I’m only familiar with NY because that’s home) closes one line for repairs, there is another line a few blocks away that runs parallel to the stops of the closed line. That does not exist here.

      • At least when the MTA closes part of a subway line, one can be reasonably confident that the closure didn’t stem from a poor record of doing maintenance — deferring maintenance for cost reasons, workers falsifying records of checks performed, etc., etc.

      • maxwell smart

        Yeah, hard to equate repairs due to natural disasters with repairs due to 30 years of neglect and deferred maintenance.

  • Good. This gets us closer to a metro that is more reliable during the periods in which most riders actually use it. Obviously if we could have a metro that is cheap, runs at all times, and is reliable, that would be the best, but since that’s not an options, trade-offs have to be made. Given how low ridership is during late-night hours, this is an obvious one.

  • The first Sunday Caps/Wiz evening game, or first SNF Skins, or Sunday Nats playoff game is going to be LOTS of fun! I’m assuming if they are doing this for critical maintenance reasons they won’t allow teams to pay for extended service (not like the Nats ever did anyway). So it’s either thousands of people getting to a game on Metro and then stranded without a good way home, or everybody knows they will be stranded so they drive, clog roads, and have to pay for parking. How is it that somehow I’m sure Snyder is behind this?!?!

    • Also if the Nats ever get the ESPN Sunday Game of the Week that starts after 8pm. They tend to be very high profile regular season games, and Nats fans are criticized enough for leaving early!

  • From Washingtonian on May 31:
    “There’s good reason to think late-night service will not return at all. The WMATA board has previously discussed ending the service permanently in 2007 and 2011, with the head of rail operations at the time saying the change would give workers the equivalent of 45 extra days a year for track repairs.
    Time that can be spent working on the tracks is Metro’s biggest factor in stopping trains early. In Washingtonian‘s cover story on Metro last December, some of the system’s workers said they were unable to do necessary track repairs in the small window of time between a 3 AM closing and when stations reopened at 7 AM.”

    • (continued) ““You’re talking about three hours of actual work time,” retired maintenance manager Aaron Wiggins said. “Ain’t a lot you’re going to get done in three hours on a nightly basis. It’s impossible.”
      “By closing the system at midnight every night and expanding weekday maintenance opportunities,” reads a May press release from WMATA, “the SafeTrack plan addresses FTA and NTSB safety recommendations, accelerates work to eliminate maintenance backlogs and restores Metro infrastructure to good health.””

      • Maybe they need to get their most experienced crews doing these late night repairs then. I hear time and time again how the more experienced repair crews of WMATA get first dibs on projects, often choosing the easier ones, leaving the hardest ones for those with the least experience. If they have the best crews doing the work, then maybe they won’t need to be repaired as often, or need as much time to do them.

        It’s simple, you should get paid more money for doing more complex work, not more money for less complex work.

    • That “45 extra days a year” stat doesn’t make sense to me.
      The plan laid out above means that there would be approximately 8 hours a week of extra repair time. 8 hours * 52 weeks in a year = 416 hours. Divide that by 24 hours a day and that’s only 17.3 extra days a year….
      Unless I’m missing something. I have literally no clue how they’re getting to 45.

      • Your math is off. A workday isn’t 24 hours. It’s 8.

      • Umm, a work day isn’t 24 hours.

        • It is if you are working around the clock in three 8 hour shifts.

          • Well clearly they aren’t because you can’t shut the system down for maintenance for 3 shifts of 8 hours per day, if the system is also open and moving people at the same time.

          • If it is three 8 hour shifts, then it is the equivalent of three workdays.

          • My point is — I’m wondering how they got that number because they could also say “Oh we gained 45 days of repair” but then what they consider “days” might be 2-3 hours. How much more would that accomplish? [And yes, a work day COULD be 24 hours if they decided to count it that way. They already do repairs around the clock many days on different lines — that’s why we single-tracked on weekends even before SafeTrack).

          • See the math above.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I suspect that he means the equivalent of 45 additional calendar days’ worth of the amount of time actually available for maintenance work on a normal day under normal train operations, which is neither 8 hours nor 24 hours.

  • Metro needs to simultaneously propose a plan for increased bus service if they really want to do this – I understand the need for maintenance, but this is going to be drastic cut for some people and they need viable alternatives (especially for people trying to get to/from work at late hours).

  • It’s an opening gambit. Issue a statement that causes, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, venting of spleen etc. and then go back to the affected municipalities and say “if you don’t want to close early and you don’t want people to die, you need to come up with a realistic funding plan that supports the hiring of more maintenance workers who can keep the system functional in fewer hours a day.”

    • It isn’t an opening gambit. For those two days that already had shortened hours, they could only work three hour shifts. You can’t get much done in that amount of time.

    • I hope you’re right- makes sense from his approach so far.

  • This is honestly so embarrassing. No other city in the developed world would even propose such an idea.

    • London Tube only runs til midnight. And then they revert to night buses.

      • When the DC Metro can come close to competing with the tube in terms of reliability and safety, then we can talk. Same with DC buses vs. London buses. Also note that the cabs in London are far easier to find and much more pleasant to be in. 10 pm on Sunday is just insane.

        • Yes. Hopefully this will help us compete with London in terms of reliability. HENCE THE ENTIRE POINT OF THIS.

          • LMAO! If the $4 billion Metro already spent over the last few years (which resulted in basically no weekend service) AND a year of SafeTrack can’t make Metro functional, I don’t see what will.

            You obviously work for Metro or have some other agenda that motivates you to try to defend such gross mismanagement and incompetence.

          • +1. Pretty sure he doesn’t work for metro, though, since he ignored my question above.

          • Yeah, I definitely do not work in the industry, though I have studied it a bit. And yes, let’s see what SafeTrack gets us in the next year. We still have a while to go. And I would be the last person to defend Metro’s management over the years. They have three times the administrative budget of comparable systems, and the cross-jurisdictional governance system makes getting smart things done impossible.

    • Actually BART in SF only runs until midnight, but it’s midnight every night and I think they open a little earlier if I’m not mistaken…

    • skj84

      as annoyed as I am about this proposal, its not unusual. Boston’s subway line also closes at Midnight.

      • Fine. I guess years of horrid reliability, daily delays, and a whole lot of fatal incidents led me to think that this bad proposal was uniquely bad. It seems it’s only as bad as similar bad proposals in other cities (although I don’t count Boston, which doesn’t have nightlife like DC).

      • Yeah, I remember when I used to visit Boston in college and was shocked at how early the subway system (and clubs/bars) shut down. I vaguely remember from my post college years in Atlanta, that MARTA also shuts down pretty early.

  • As soon as everyone uses their iris scans as their smart trip card and is at home in bed by 10pm curfew, no one will care.
    signed, big brother.

    yep, nothing to do with this post. just a flashback.

  • F#<K that! No. If anything they need to keep it open all night!! People do work nights and weekends unlike all the government workers that they only seem to notice in this town. DC is slowly converting to a larger mix of private sector companies with fewer government offices. We should demand they make long term plans for adding express tunnels and lines to the existing infrastructure so they can close those down when they need to upgrade. Looks like Uber is going to make a ton of money…

    • “We should demand they make long term plans for adding express tunnels and lines to the existing infrastructure”
      Remember to ask for unicorns and flying cars to get you to your destination, while you’re at it. Lemme guess, you’re a Sanders supporter?

      • Not a Sanders supporter. Lemme guess, you drive a car, live in suburbs and don’t ever ride the metro (hence you probably don’t give a sh*t). We should demand that Metro be upgraded and expanded. It should run all day, all night. I would be willing to pay more in taxes for a better, larger Metro system.

  • Graham King

    It’s time to shut down metro, pave the entire system and make it the best underground bike lane ever. People could use electric bikes, hover boards, segways, even bike taxis.

  • This is fine IF AND ONLY IF it is accompanied by expanded evening bus service to replace the lost rail service.

  • There are people who depend on metro to get home from work. Closing that early would cost us more money. Not everyone works 9-5; Monday- Friday. Service is bad enough. To take more hours of travel away is wrong. I want to be safe on metro, but I also can’t afford more money for transportation. This is why people are not using metro as much. It’s no longer convient or cost worthy. If it had been maintained from the beginning, there wouldn’t be so many problems now.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      What are you doing right now while the system as “temporary” limited hours? Presumably, making due somehow.

    • “If it had been maintained from the beginning, there wouldn’t be so many problems now.”
      While inarguably true, this is utterly irrelevant to the discussion of whether these hours are necessary.

      • maxwell smart

        Actually isn’t the whole need for extra repair hours due to the lack of routine maintenance and upkeep and now the work required being more complex and longer to complete??

  • metro needs drastic measures to fix the system. metro is taking drastic measures.

  • the reality is that most stations actually close well before 12 AM now. i was at a concert at wolf trap a few weeks ago and planned to metro back. got to the station at 11:25 pm. they said the last train just left for the night. expensive uber back to DC. metro, get your shit together.

    • Last trains are “well before midnight” only if your trip is inbound (i.e., towards the center/core of D.C.) rather than outbound. As I was mentioning elsewhere in this thread, the last northbound train from U Street Metro Station is at 12:21 a.m.

    • Correct. I was at the rain-delayed Nats game on July 16, and the scoreboard announced that the last Green Line train to Greenbelt would leave Navy Yard at 11:20 (which seemed awfully early…..I thought the “midnight closure” basically meant that trains were meant to go through Metro Center or Gallery Place at midnight, and arrive at the periphery whenever).

Comments are closed.