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'It’s not a holiday. It’s not the pandemic. It's Metro.' | DC shop describes business impact of Metro service disruption

WMATA says two million jobs, or 54% of all jobs in the region, are "within a half-mile radius of all Metrorail stations and Metrobus stops."

WASHINGTON — Businesses near Metro stops may be seeing fewer customers this week as a result of big service disruptions lasting until at least Sunday.

The changes stem from a Blue Line derailment that occurred near Arlington National Cemetery last week. While no one was injured, it left almost 200 passengers stranded in the dark as they waited to be evacuated by emergency crews.

While investigating the derailment, NTSB found that an axle of the railcar that derailed was "out of compliance with the 7000 Series specifications for the wheel and axle assembly," according to an order issued by the Washington Metro Safety Commission (WMSC).

The D.C. Metrorail Safety Commission later ordered Metro to pull nearly 60% of its rail fleet from service Monday after its safety oversight board found a recurring problem with the axles on the Metro's newest railcars, the agency said.

RELATED: Metro Blue Line defect that caused derailment could have been 'catastrophic,' NTSB says

The fallout from the investigation has led to frustrating service disruptions for Metro customers, with Red Line trains running every 15 minutes and all other lines running every 30 minutes this week as a result of the reduced fleet.

At the Chocolate Chocolate boutique downtown, owner Ginger Park has become very familiar with the happenings of the neighborhood.

For the last 12 years, Park and her team have had a small storefront along Connecticut Avenue. Normally, with the store sitting just a block away from the Farragut North stop, she sees crowds of people walking to and from restaurants, stores, and office buildings.

However, she told WUSA 9 that this week has brought a much different feel. 

"It’s not a holiday. It’s not the pandemic. It's Metro. It’s really quiet down here," she said. "In a perfect Washington, it’s like Grand Central Station. People coming and going from work. They always stop by.”

Like nearly every business, the pandemic has provided all sorts of challenges for her shop over the last year and a half.

Park said the weeks after Labor Day were bringing around a 10% boost in customers. This week though, that changed.

"If the Metro isn't running, people aren’t going to come to work. They’re going to work from home," she said. "Where there is a Metro, there is business and it’s thriving. We would never even or consider opening a shop that wasn’t right near a Metro.” 

According to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) website, two million jobs or 54% of all jobs in the region are "within a half-mile radius of all Metrorail stations and Metrobus stops."

This week, Metro officials said they expected the train delays to last until at least Sunday. Moving forward, Ginger Park hoped service would get back up and running to help both riders and businesses.

"Safety before anything," she said. "I just hope they can do a good job and repair the cars.”

"I’m relieved it's something temporary," Park added.

RELATED: NTSB has identified 'an additional 21 cars with wheel problems' as Metro investigation continues, says Del. Norton

RELATED: Metro gives riders $21 for their troubles after train goes off the tracks

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