Riders on the D.C. Metro red line are preparing for massive delays from the latest SafeTrack safety surge, which will shut down two stations and affect 200,000 trips.
Officials with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) are warning commuters to expect long delays and service disruptions throughout the repairs, which will consist of line segment shutdowns between the NoMa-Gallaudet and Fort Totten stations beginning Saturday. SafeTrack Surge 10 will last for 25 days and completely shut down the Brookland and Rhode Island Avenue stations, reports WJLA.
District officials gathered Wednesday to warn red line riders of the impending repairs and encourage commuters to find alternative transportation for the next 25 days. Metro officials are telling riders to ditch the red line entirely during rush hour.
“During WMATA’s SafeTrack Surge 10, over 200,000 trips will be affected,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “We need everyone to come up with a Plan A and a Plan B for managing their Metro needs, especially our students and families who normally use the train to get to school and who will still need to get to school every day, on time.”
Red line trains will run between the Shady Grove and NoMa-Gallaudet stations every six minutes and between the Glenmont and Fort Totten stations every 10 minutes. After 9 a.m. all trains will run once every 15 minutes. Service will also end slightly earlier on the Red Line in the direction of Fort Totten with the last train departing from the Glenmont station at 11:02 p.m., 35 minutes earlier than usual.
“The shutdown will result in severe service reductions that impact the entire Red Line, from one end to the other,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Wednesday, according to The Washington Post. “Whenever possible, we need Red Line customers with other options to consider telecommuting, traveling off-peak and then also using bus alternatives.”
Metro will offer a limited number of free shuttle buses to ferry passengers between the NoMa-Gallaudet and Fort Totten stations throughout the surge, which extends through Nov. 22. Officials are telling riders to brace for massive crowding on the platforms and trains during rush hour service. They are also warning green and yellow line riders to expect larger crowds than usual due to the repairs.
“This is the first Surge during the regular school year,” Leif Dormsjo, director of the D.C. Department of Transportation, said Wednesday. “We have worked with other agencies to provide information on transportation alternatives for parents and students, but everyone who uses the Red Line during peak hours should be considering alternatives.”
SafeTrack repairs have sparked nearly 2,000 delays since maintenance began in June, according to a report released Wednesday. The average delay lasted roughly eight minutes and a total of 9.8 million trips were affected. For roughly 10 percent of the cases, delays persisted for more than 15 minutes.
Financial analysis from the D.C. metropolitan region’s Council of Governments found that service disruptions from SafeTrack accounted for roughly 1.2 million man-hours lost. Officials warn that if the current situation with Metro service does not improve, the transit system will likely sink into a larger budget shortfall.
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