WASHINGTON — Metro is warning that it could scale back essential rail and bus service even further now that stay-at-home orders have been issued in all the jurisdictions it serves – Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told WUSA9 that more stations could be closed, and service hours shortened, with the goal of further protecting front-line employees. All 12,000 Metro workers remain on the job to keep the system running for essential trips only. Right now, one-in-five Metro stations are closed, there are 20-minute gaps between trains and weekday Metrobus service is running at Sunday levels.
Stessel said that Metro’s coronavirus task force met again on Monday, and that new service changes could be announced by this weekend. Metro has been changing service week-to-week for the last two weeks, but Stessel said that this service change would likely last the entire month of April.
During a Sunday Facebook town hall with Metro workers, officials said there would be no layoffs of employees, but also no hazard pay. Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said workers are committed to keeping the system running and it is committed to keeping them safe.
“They’re apprehensive, of course they are,” said Wiedefeld. “But they’re there and they get it. They feel they play an important role in this region, and I thank them.”
On Monday, Governor Larry Hogan told Marylanders that they should avoid public transit. Metro is trying to increase social distancing on trains. It has now banned passengers from boarding on the first and last cars, where train operators sit.