WASHINGTON — Metro is making good on warnings that it would close stations. The transit agency officially closed Smithsonian Metro and Arlington Cemetery Metro at 5 p.m. on March 19 so tourists would be thwarted from using the system to see the cherry blossoms blooming near the Tidal Basin.
On Tuesday, WMATA announced the closure of 17 more stations, citing decreased ridership. Metro’s Pandemic Task Force said ridership was down by 90%, and that closures were necessary to conserve cleaning supplies.
Officials said Metro has two to three weeks of disinfectant in its inventory and it can conserve if it cuts back on cleaning escalators, elevators etc.
"Metro is taking action to make its current 2-3 week warehouse supply stretch until massive orders placed in late January are received," WMATA said in a press release.
Here are the closed stations (effective March 26)
- Federal Center SW
- Federal Triangle
- Mt Vernon Square
- Judiciary Square
- Eisenhower Ave
- Virginia Square
- Cleveland Park
- East Falls Church
- College Park
- Morgan Boulevard
- Van Dorn St
- *Arlington Cemetery
Metro has also reduced trains to every 15 minutes, cut bus routes down to 20, and mandated that only those making essential trips use Metro during the coronavirus crisis.
"Let's keep trains available for the hospital staff, first responders, and other heroes who need to travel right now," the transit agency tweeted. "The trees will be there next year.
Two weeks ago, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said that reducing service will keep Metro workers healthy and the system running.
"We’re doing everything we can," Wiedefeld said. "We’re not going to provide the service unless it’s safe."
Everyday commuters told WUSA9 that the closures are an unnecessary inconvenience. Some are still working in offices near Smithsonian Metro and were surprised when they showed up to a shuttered station.
The coronavirus crisis closed one other station on March 19, but only briefly. D.C. Fire and EMS told WUSA9 that Metro Center was closed when a WMATA worker claimed they were exposed to COVID-19. Emergency workers were called to the station at 10:38 a.m., but a department spokesman told WUSA9 that the patient signed a refusal of treatment about an hour later. A Metro spokesperson said the station was disinfected before it reopened.