Maintenance crews are working throughout the deteriorating D.C. Metro system after officials added critical repairs to the SafeTrack schedule, significantly affecting weekend service.
Officials with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) updated their schedule for repair work Wednesday to deal with a litany of issues system wide.
A concrete column needs to be replaced between the Grosvenor and Twinbrook stations, forcing red line trains to single track for the weekend. An emergency call box needs replacing on the yellow line, and crews will also repair platform lights on the green line. All six Metro lines will be affected by the repairs this weekend, according to the WMATA.
Crews are conducting additional unspecified track repairs along the orange and silver lines and there will be no train service between the Vienna and West Falls Chruch stations. Metro will provide free shuttle bus service to replace orange line trains between Vienna and West Falls Church. (RELATED: DC Metro Plans To Close For Old Churchgoers, Opens For Boozy Brunches)
Blue, yellow and green line trains are operating every 20 minutes throughout the weekend. Red line trains are available every 16 minutes between the Shady Grove and Glenmont stations, while trains single track between Grosvenor and Twinbrook. Orange line trains are operating every 20 minutes between the West Falls Church and New Carrollton stations, while silver line trains will run every 20 minutes between the Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston stations only.
Metro officials met with the D.C. Council this week to discuss the prospects of permanent early closings and late openings to give Metro more time for repairs. Officials have struggled to prioritize maintenance and federal inspectors have repeatedly criticized workers for violating safety procedures. The Federal Transit Administration even questioned the safety of completed SafeTrack repairs. (RELATED: Lawmakers Consider Massive Fare Hike To Cover Costs Of DC Metro)
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld is adamant that work crews need an additional eight hours a night for the necessary repairs to keep the system running. Wiedefeld proposed permanently closing the transit system at midnight, even after SafeTrack repairs conclude. The proposal was met with fierce public criticism from residents and city officials worried about the potential impact it would have on the local economy.
“If you want to find an additional eight hours somewhere else, that’s fine,” Evans told officials at a hearing Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. “But they don’t come at the cost of these hours.”
The D.C. Council unanimously signed a resolution Tuesday instructing Metro officials to restore late night service after repairs are complete.
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson proposed a model based on the current safety surge approach of SafeTrack. He argued Metro can continue to conduct targeted maintenance to keep the system safe without inconveniencing the entire region.
Metro officials will hold a public hearing on the matter Oct. 20.
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