WASHINGTON — Upping Metrorail operating hours will ultimately inconvenience riders and impact long-term safety projects, transit agency leaders said in new documents released on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Metro COO Laura Mason will lay four possible schedule options in front of WMATA's board of directors in hopes of balancing the need for overnight maintenance against cries for increased service hours.
Board members representing The District have urged the return of late-night service, including midnight closings on weekdays and 3 a.m. closing on weekends, after hours were cut in June 2017. If Metro's board takes no action, Metrorail operating hours will return to a similar schedule this July.
"At this time, any increase in service hours will reduce time available for safety and reliability improvements, negatively impact capital program execution and increase net cost to jurisdictions," said documents to be presented Thursday by WMATA COO Laura Mason.
Continuing what it calls a "shift from reactive to proactive maintenance work," Metro wants to give its crews a window of at least five hours to work overnight for safety projects such as clearing track beds and waterproofing tunnels.
Here are the options proposed by Metro:
- "Revert to FY16 Hours"
Monday - Thursday: 5 a.m. to midnight
Friday: 5 a.m. - 3 a.m.
Saturday: 7 a.m. -3 a.m.
Sunday: 7 a.m. - midnight
- "Alternative A: Shift Hours"
Monday -Thursday: 5:30 a.m. - midnight
Friday: 5:30 a.m. - 3 a.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. -3 a.m.
Su: 10:30 a.m. - midnight
- "Alternative B: Extend Weekend Hours"
Monday -Thursday: 5 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Friday: 5 a.m. -2 a.m.
Saturday: 7 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Sunday: 7 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
- "Alternative C: Existing Hours"
Monday - Thursday: 5 a.m. -11:30 p.m.
Friday: 5 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Saturday: 7 a.m. -1 a.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Metro says returning to pre-2017 service levels will cause a five percent overall drop in rail reliability, forcing the agency to limit trains to one track in at least two locations during the week, and increase the time between trains to nearly a half hour after 10 p.m.
The three other options, Metro said, preserve a window for overnight maintenance "that limits the number of riders impacted while also providing time for effective work to be completed."
Click here to read the full presentation.