Mayor Muriel Bowser is blasting the D.C. Metro over proposals to cut service hours, arguing it’s a recipe to put the “system out of business slowly.”
Officials with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) released a number of proposal to the public for debate on how to curtail service hours to allow more time for critical maintenance. Bowser does not understand why the D.C. Metro cannot function like its peer transit agencies in other major cities, arguing amending hours of operation will undermine the purpose of the system, reports NBC Washington.
Bowser is fearful over the impact early closures could have on small businesses throughout the city. She also says a major metropolitan city like D.C. simply cannot have a transit service that closes so early.
“We know that other systems can do it in that amount of time and if Metro can’t do it – why?” Bowser told NBC Washington. “If nobody believes in the system and the hours don’t serve them, then we would be basically putting our system out of business slowly, but surely.”
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 after SafeTrack concludes. One proposal Wiedefeld is pushing for would end service at 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m. on Sunday, and at 11:30 p.m. all other nights. The system would also open at 8 a.m. on Sunday, an hour later than usual.
Officials have struggled to prioritize maintenance throughout SafeTrack and federal inspectors have repeatedly criticized workers for violating safety procedures. The Federal Transit Administration even questioned the safety of completed SafeTrack repairs.
“I think that we don’t know enough about [SafeTrack],” Bowser told NBC Washington. “I think that the metrics should be easy to understand and digest for decision makers and that’s what we are pushing hard on.”
Metro officials will hold a public hearing between 12:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on the proposals for service cuts Thursday.
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