Year of SafeTrack, and Cutbacks, for Metro

Weekend Metrorail service first pushed past midnight, to 1 a.m., in 1999 (the better to party like it’s 1999). Currently operating until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, the trains will have a midnight curfew seven days a week after the last reveler exits the turnstiles early Sunday morning, May 29.

The earlier closing times are part of a year of service cutbacks as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority attempts to complete three years’ worth of maintenance in less than a year.

WMATA’s revised SafeTrack plan, detailing the work it intends to carry out, was released May 19. The scheduled completion date is March 19, 2017.

Along with plenty of weekday single-tracking — which riders are already experiencing — there will be several periods of service shutdowns on particular lines. Shuttle buses will replace trains to the extent feasible.

• Service on the Orange, Blue and Silver Lines between Eastern Market and Minnesota Avenue (Orange) and Benning Road (Blue and Silver) will shut down for 16 days beginning June 18.

• Service on the Yellow and Blue Lines between Reagan National Airport and Pentagon City will shut down on the evening of July 5 for a week, with a second week of no service between the airport and Braddock Road.

• Service on the Red Line between NoMa-Gallaudet and Fort Totten will shut down from Oct. 10 to Nov. 1.

• Service on the Blue Line between Rosslyn and Pentagon will shut down from Dec. 7 to 24 (except for Dec. 17).

Clearly, the reduction in late hours has been the most alarming part of the plan for night owls. On an average weekend night, there are about 7,500 riders between midnight and 3 a.m. This number has declined in recent years, in part due to the rise of car services such as Uber and Lyft.

In response to the reduced Metrorail hours, Uber announced that it would expand its ride-sharing service, UberPOOL, to Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland and to Virginia towns beyond Arlington and Alexandria. However, surge pricing would be in effect, without a cap on the multiplier for the time being.


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