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Metro increasing hours starting Aug. 16, adding bus, rail service cut during coronavirus

WMATA is aiming to restore most service to pre-COVID levels while maintaining a strong response posture to the virus, officials said.

WASHINGTON — Metro will add more buses, trains and hours of service beginning on Aug.16, restoring most service to pre-COVID levels while maintaining a strong response posture to the virus, officials said.

Metrorail will add 15 hours more service per week, with opening times returning to normal and the system closing two hours later each night in anticipation of potential increases in ridership after Labor Day.

RELATED: Metro reducing most of its bus routes through Sunday. Will only offer 20 routes

Metrobus will offer more buses, running more frequent service beginning Aug. 23, restoring approximately 75% of pre-pandemic service. Weekday service will improve on 174 routes with most routes operating close to normal. Buses will operate until midnight, an additional hour.

"The increased service will allow Metro to provide greater transit options for the region, while still maintaining stepped up Covid-19 cleaning protocols," Metro said in a release. "Trains, buses, and stations are cleaned daily, high-touch surfaces wiped down and disinfected, and routine deep-cleaning at stations."

Effective Aug. 16, Metro will make the following changes to Metrorail services:

  • Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. on Sundays and close daily at 11 p.m.
  • Weekdays Red Line trains will operate every 5 minutes during peak periods and 12 minutes off-peak; all other lines every 8 minutes during peak periods and 15 minutes off-peak.
  • On weekends Red Line trains will operate every 12 minutes; all other lines every 15 minutes.
  • Six stations west of Ballston re-open - McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill, Wiehle-Reston East, and West Falls Church.
  • Arlington Cemetery Station remains closed as Arlington National Cemetery is currently closed to the general public. 

Effective Aug. 23, Metro will make the following changes to Metrobus services:

  • Metrobus service will operate beginning at 5 a.m. on weekdays; 7 a.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. on Sundays and end at midnight daily.
  • Weekday bus service will be available on 174 routes with most operating close to normal.
  • Weekend bus service will be available on 109 routes on Saturday and 99 routes on Sunday.
  • Rear-door boarding remains in effect and fares temporarily waived.

Currently, Metrorail service operates from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. on weekends with trains operate every 15 minutes on the Red Line on weekdays and every 20 minutes on all lines except Silver which will return on Aug. 16.

Eighty-one of 91 stations are open as Metro's summer shutdown closed nine stations in Virginia to complete track work. All Silver Line stations from East Falls Church to the end of the Wiehle-Reston East line are closed, including Tyson's Corner. 

Metrobus service currently operates from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. on weekends. Weekday buses are operating on a modified Sunday schedule, while weekend bus routes are operating lifeline service.

RELATED: Metro officials: 'Stay home. Essential travel only' | New hours on trains, buses due to coronavirus

Additionally, Metro is increasing the subsidy from $3 to $6 for on-demand transportation service after hours as part of the After-Hours Commuter Service program – an effort to provide additional transportation options for late-night workers.

The program gives qualified workers a subsidy toward a shared ride on Lyft for trips between their home and workplace between midnight and 4 a.m. Eligible workers may apply online on WMATA's website.

Metro today also announced a significant investment to support the region’s overnight workers by doubling the discount customers receive when using Lyft during times Metro is not available.

Customers are reminded that masks or face coverings are required when traveling on Metro, per guidance from the CDC, to protect the health and safety of others. 

This includes stations, trains, buses, and MetroAccess vehicles.

As ridership increases, social distancing may not be possible on trains and buses. Metro strongly urges customers to consider traveling during off-peak hours and other travel alternatives such as walking, biking, or scooters if possible.

RELATED: Metro reopens 15 rail stops, 14 additional bus stops open back up Monday

RELATED: Multiple Metro stops re-open after closing due to employee test positive for coronavirus

RELATED: Metro closes at 9 pm, buses stop running at 11 pm during coronavirus pandemic

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