WASHINGTON — Monday brought good news for some Metro riders: The Green/Yellow lines will feature 15-minute waits between trains yet again, which is down from the 20-minute waits experienced at times during the pandemic and, most recently, due to a training failure.
Red Line trains continue to operate every 10 minutes, and Blue, Orange and Silver line trains continue to operate every 20 minutes, with more frequent service at stations that are served by multiple lines throughout the system.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) announced last week that nearly half of the system's 500 rail train operators had lapsed recertification.
WMATA said in a release that the transit agency had to remove 72 train operators from service who were out of compliance prior to May 2021.
WMATA went on to say that "temporary service reductions will start Monday which will result in a reduction in Green and Yellow line service from every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes due to the operator shortage." Those reductions appeared to have lasted one week, now that wait times are down again.
A spokesman for the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission said the agency had been trying to call Metro's attention to the operators' lapsed certification for weeks. Max Smith says it's another example of continuing issues with the safety culture at Metro.
"Elements of Metrorail have a culture that accepts noncompliance with written rules and procedures," he said. "This is not the operators' fault at all. This is the managers' responsibility to make sure (recertification) happens."
After the training failure exposure, the now-former general manager of Metro, Paul Wiedefeld, announced he would be retiring early, effective immediately. He originally announced in January he would retire from the agency on June 30. He held the position for six years.
Additionally, Wiedefeld announced he accepted the resignation of Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader, effective immediately.
Andy Off will be the general manager of WMATA in the interim, before the newly selected CEO and general manager, Randy Clarke, begins. Clarke currently serves as the president and CEO of Capital Metro in Austin, Texas.