WASHINGTON — As the DMV continues the process of emerging from the pandemic and transitioning back to "normal" life, Metro's Board of Directors announced Thursday that it would extend service hours and make changes to fares this summer.
Starting in July, rail service will be extended to midnight, seven days a week. Additionally, other bus and rail service improvements and fare changes will start being implemented in the fall – beginning Labor Day weekend – as many in the region prepare to go back to work and school. The Board said they hoped the improvements would support the region's recovery and encourage more customers to return to transit.
"This package of service and fare changes makes it easier for riders to return to Metro and give transit a try," Metro Board Chairman Paul C. Smedberg said in a release. "The Board today voted to provide more frequent trains and buses, addresses the historic transfer fee to promote connecting from bus to rail, and includes special weekend fares that will encourage visitors and area families to take transit as they start traveling again."
Dates of key service changes and improvements will be detailed in future announcements, Metro said.
The improvements approved by the Board Thursday include the following:
- More frequent all-day service, including weekends: Trains will operate every 6 minutes on the Red Line and every 12 minutes on all other lines, seven days a week during off-peak hours (beginning September on weekdays, late 2021 on weekends).
- Better peak service: On weekdays, trains will operate every 5 minutes on the Red Line (late 2021) and every 10 minutes on all other lines (September) during peak hours to accommodate a return to work and school.
- Improved late-night service and hours: Metrorail will extend operating hours to midnight, seven days a week (July). After 9:30 p.m., late-night train frequencies will improve to every 10 minutes on the Red Line, and every 15 minutes on all other lines (September). Operating hours will expand until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays (September).
- Increased service: 20 bus lines will operate every 12 minutes or better, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., seven days a week. (September)
- Increased service: 16 bus lines will operate every 20 minutes or better, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., seven days a week. (September)
- Service restored or improved on an additional 46 bus routes. (September)
- Weekends: Flat fare of $2 on Metrorail. (September)
- Transfers: Free bus transfers to/from the rail. (September)
- Passes: Lower 7-day Regional Bus Pass price from $15 to $12. (September)
The service improvement approved Thursday is in addition to the recent expansion of late-night service and other improvements on Metrobus, which went into effect on June 6, officials said.