Mar 11, 2022 - News

WMATA is trying to get customers back on the rails

One passenger waits inside an empty Metro station.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Metro is on the verge of letting all late-night and weekend rail riders commute for a flat $2 a trip. 

Why it matters: Lengthy wait times, the derailment investigation, and big Yellow and Orange lines disruptions on the horizon are making it hard for residents to rely on Metro lately—at a time when the agency is trying to attract riders back. 

Details: The $2 rate would apply to rides after 9:30pm and on weekends. A Metro committee yesterday approved the plan, and the full agency board will vote on the new rate on March 24. 

What they’re saying: Slow service could stunt Washington’s post-Covid rebound, says ATU Local 689 president & business agent Raymond Jackson.

  • “WMATA is the economic engine in this entire region,” the 30-year WMATA employee says. “People not being able to move around ... the region like they should … actually is a hindrance.” 

What’s happening: WMATA says that “at most stations” trains arrive on average every 7-10 minutes. However, some riders are experiencing wait times of 20 minutes. 

All 7000-series cars are out of service because of the ongoing investigation following an October derailment. They make up 60% of Metro’s fleet.

Five Orange Line metro stations will be closed from the end of May through Sep. 5 for a platform improvement project.

Service between the Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza will stop from September through Spring 2023 for repairs to the Yellow Line’s Potomac River tunnel and bridge crossing,

Yes, but: While it may take longer, riding the train is far cheaper than putting gas in your car

What we’re watching: On top of its existing headaches, Jackson worries that WMATA’s subsidy cap could force the agency to make service cuts amid rising inflation. The subsidy means that WMATA’s budgets can’t increase by more than 3% annually.

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