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“Proposed changes to Metrorail operating hours” Make Your Opinion Known by Oct. 25th

by Prince Of Petworth October 5, 2016 at 2:05 pm 24 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Beau Finley


“Metro is working to improve safety, reliability, and to get its financial house in order. The SafeTrack program underway now is designed to restore the Metrorail system to a state of good repair, but maintaining the system will require more track access moving forward. For riders, this means the number of hours that Metrorail is open would be reduced so that more preventive maintenance work, quality control, and inspections can be conducted when trains aren’t running.

Before SafeTrack started in June 2016, Metro was closed for just 33 hours each week, providing little time for maintenance and inspections. Compared to 1998 when the Metrorail system had 12 fewer stations and trains operated with just two to four rail cars, there were 44 hours per week for maintenance. That’s 25% less track time for a system that’s considerably larger today.

We know that adjusting the hours of operation will impact many riders, and we want to hear from you. Four proposals have been developed for your review. Each proposal provides Metro with an additional eight hours of track access each week, with the proposals designed to impact the fewest customers possible.
What’s being worked on when Metrorail is closed?

Metro uses time when the tracks are out of service to conduct maintenance, inspection and quality control work, as well as capital improvement efforts to replace or rehabilitate parts of the system. Prior to SafeTrack, all of these efforts were conducted in the overnight hours and during weekend single tracking and shutdowns, but the limited time available led to a backlog of both routine maintenance efforts and safety critical improvements.

Metro is now developing improved maintenance and inspection programs that will be put in place when SafeTrack ends next year. Increasing track access by 20 percent will be critical to this new effort. The new programs will strengthen preventive maintenance for tracks, switches, interlockings and traction power cables. The new preventive maintenance programs will be carried out across the system during overnight hours when trains are not operating, so that capital programs can be conducted during weekend shutdowns and single tracking events that are scheduled on a weekly basis in specific locations.


Would you take the bus?

Metro has also proposed supplemental bus service that may provide customers with travel alternatives when the rail system is closed for these additional eight hours of preventive maintenance. Click for a preview of this bus service network

We will explore partnerships that encourage private carriers to provide late night service options to Metro customers.

Give us your input about these proposals.

Any input you wish to provide must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 25, 2016.

Public feedback will be provided to Metro’s Board of Directors in December 2016 as part of the final decision process.”

  • T

    Survey link doesn’t work for me; in case anyone else has that problem, it’s at wmata.com/hours

    • FridayGirl

      Me neither, I’ll check the website. Thanks!

  • hungeegirl

    how about proposal 5 – the original hours you had?

    the only realistic one for A 21ST CENTURY METROPOLITAN AREA is the last one, but opening at noon on sundays? seriously? you think church parking in DC is bad now…

    • Arouet

      As with all the other push-poll type surveys/presentations WMATA has used to try to bully its way into hours not befitting a first world city, this one leaves out the obvious other options: a) return to previous hours (because every survey needs a baseline), and b) return to previous hours but with targeted and schedule shut-downs to allow works on the track.

      WMATA has already admitted they won’t be working on every line every additional hour. Therefore, there is no non-budgetary reason to close earlier for the lines they’re not working on. The proposals provided to the board and to the public are lazy and inadequate, and they need to be sent back to the drawing board until they provide a real justification for cutting hours so haphazardly.

    • JD

      Yep – these are all false choices.

  • Timothy

    What is so damn annoying is this would not even be a problem if they had just done regular maintenance since day 1 of being in operation….like damn. come on.

    I have accepted that metro and the riders are screwed no matter what. they can close the damn thing and so people are screwed. change hours? people are screwed. keep things as they are? still screwed.

    one big screw. ::eye roll::

  • SurveySays:TheMetroSucks

    No option to return to original hours? BS. That shows how little they actually value the public’s input. Instead of reducing hours, maybe they should consider performing repairs more efficiently? What a joke. More people [like myself] are going to get sick of a deteriorating metro system and lack of service and start driving. I’ve already noticed how much worse the traffic is now with the SafeTrack surge and I can only imagine how bad it will be if [and when] they slash service hours. Couple that with the never ending utility construction, traffic is going to be unbearable. Side Note: Why don’t they perform utility/ road work at night to avoid traffic problems? When I worked on road crews, we always worked at night if it was in a area with high traffic. Just another example of DC being clueless.

    • Bryan

      Proposal 5
      Keep all hours as they are. Occasional shut downs of specific areas when serious work is needed.
      Fire all contractors who currently are in charge of doing all maintenance and find a company that will do the job well and efficiently.

      • LittleBluePenguin


      • textdoc

        Doesn’t #1 reflect the current hours under SafeTrack? (Not that I am a fan of those hours — I’d like to see Friday/Saturday late-night service restored, at least until 2 a.m.) Or does Metro currently run until midnight on Sunday nights?

        • msus

          It runs to midnight on Sundays.

          • textdoc

            Ahh. So basically all four options are worse than current hours.

  • Josh

    I’ll vote for proposal 3 because I need the Sunday morning service but not the late night 3 am service

  • C_petworth

    Link does not work

  • RM

    Proposal #4 would work real well for those 1 pm Skins games and 130 Sunday matinee’s at Nationals Park. What a joke.

    • ***

      Proposal 4 is totally a passive-aggressive middle finger. “Oh you want late-night weekend service? Well, all of DC better be hungover Sunday morning!” Why bother opening at all on Sunday with those hours? Then WMATA would have all day to do repairs.

  • Elle

    None of these options is really acceptable. On Fridays and Saturdays, the last train has to be after last call, otherwise people will drive, and that is not a good idea. On Sundays, the first train needs to get people to church. None of these do that.
    I appreciate that they have more track to cover, but the way to fix that problem is not to close the system for longer periods of time, it’s to hire more people to work the same amount of time, or just hire more efficient people. Really, their whole argument for why they need to do this just does not hold water.

    • textdoc

      +1 to none of these options being acceptable.
      I’m leaning toward #4, but I don’t buy the idea that the only way to restore late-night service on Fridays and Saturdays is to take it out of Sunday mornings.

    • Arouet

      At worst, they should be extending Safetrack-style repairs, closing specific lines on pre-determined schedules late night and early morning (this way they can scheduled AROUND special events like nats games, marathons, etc.) AND providing bus bridges during those times that replicate Metro service.

      Anything short of that is a farce, and is unacceptable.

  • Terp

    And a big f you to food service workers who live in the burbs because they can’t afford the city on $10/hour.

  • Lamar Grigsby

    I believe proposal number one will work for everyone. It was very hard on me and my family to travel to work if the train station close at 11:30 p.m. at night I live in Maryland and the buses stop running out there early

  • psoccer55

    Agreed, the poll sucks. I get that they might not like the idea of going back to the previous hours, but this outreach should identify what people want, and then Metro can argue what they think is feasible. Those two things are clearly not going to line up, but thats where you need to start. Its ridiculous for them to rig the data to show support for options they want, versus what people may actually want.
    I cant imagine it would have been that hard for Metro to create an option for the poll taker to suggest opening and closing times for each day of the week.

  • anonaposter

    Meanwhile, the London tube is rolling out all night service, in addition to the existing night buses. If they can do it…


    “London is already a 24-hour city, and thanks to the huge investment to modernise the Underground, we are now rolling out a 24-hour Tube to match. Demand has soared over recent years, with passenger numbers on Friday and Saturday nights up by around 70 per cent since 2000.

    Across the Night Tube lines, you will be able to travel between Central London and the outskirts of the city. It will be pivotal to London’s night economy and complement our existing Night bus services and London Taxi and Private Hire vehicles.”

  • tke98

    DC’s metropolitan area and metro system cannot be compared to London’s. sorry–not the same. Nor can it be compared to New York City’s or any other major metro area. First, the shared funding of the system is unique and puts it at odds with progress because of the problem with DC, MD and VA looking out for the interests of their residents. Second, it wasn’t designed by people who were thinking of a 24 hour system. As a result, they didn’t include extra rails, better ingress and egress from the stations that you find in other cities. I don’t think they fully anticipated the ridership and it shows. That being said, I think option 1 is the only viable option of the four choices listed. I think Metro needs to strategize on ways of improving service and maintenance, while still meeting the needs of its riders and that none of these options be considered permanent, but only temporary fixes until they finish metro’s reorganization post-SafeTrack.


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