‘ESSENTIAL TRIPS ONLY’: DC Metro Announces Major Service Shutdowns

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced major service shutdowns Tuesday to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

WMATA announced that taking into account “urgent” public guidance from regional leaders, “along with emergency orders to cancel events, close schools and offices, and limit social gatherings across the nation,” the Metro service will be further reduced on bus and rail.

Trains will run every 15 minutes between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. on weekends, and WMATA emphasized that customers should not travel unless out of necessity. (RELATED: Catholic Arlington Diocese, Christ Church Georgetown Suspend All Services, Gonzaga High School President Tests Positive)

“Rail system hours and service levels are further reduced to support ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY,” WMATA said in a press release. “DO NOT TRAVEL UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY and follow guidance from your state and local authorities.”

Metro general manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a Tuesday statement: “As members of our community stay home from work, school and social gatherings — following the critical emergency guidance of Governors Hogan and Northam and Mayor Bowser — Metro will reduce service and implement measures to reduce risk for employees and the public.”

“To be clear, Metro intends to be there to provide service for essential trips in our community – as long as it is safe and appropriate to do so,” Wiedefeld said. “If everyone does their part and stays home whenever possible, Metro will be there for hospital staff and other heroes who need us at this unprecedented moment in our lives.”

The Metro service urged the public not to travel to the Washington, D.C., Cherry Blossom Festival to keep “Metro’s limited capacity available for essential travel.”

“Metro reserves the right to close stations near the Tidal Basin at any time to reduce the use of Metro for tourist trips,” WMATA noted in a press release. 

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