Portales Aloso waited an hour on Tuesday (Oct. 19) for a Metro train from Reston into D.C. The wait on Wednesday was 20 minutes.
He was among countless commuters in the D.C. area who faced travel delays this week after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority pulled more than half of its railcars from service due to reported safety issues.
The issues involving deficient wheel axles came to officials’ attention after a Blue Line train derailed in Arlington on Oct. 12, prompting mass inspections and a National Transportation Safety Board investigation.
The reduced service levels will continue through at least Oct. 31, WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced at a media briefing today (Friday).
“We understand it has been a difficult week for people who depend on Metro in the region, and acknowledge the challenges our customers are experiencing,” Wiedefeld said. “We are working as quickly and safely as possible to inspect every wheel on the 7000-series railcars and it’s important to get that right.”
Metro says it is working to bring older trains into service to offset the absence of the 748 cars in its 7000-series fleet, bringing some 2000-series railcars out of storage and finishing maintenance repairs on the 6000 series.
The transit agency still has 100 cars in the 7000-series fleet remaining for inspection, and it currently has no estimate for when full service will be restored.
WMATA is encouraging riders to use its bus service, though Wiedefeld told media that Metrobus is operating at about 97% capacity.
Multiple Fairfax Connector bus drivers told FFXnow earlier this week that, despite the Metro delays, they didn’t notice any differences in the number of passengers on their routes, suggesting riders haven’t opted for other public transit as an alternative.
Salim Furth, a senior fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center who has analyzed how the pandemic could prompt long-term commuting changes, is pessimistic about the chances of Metro’s situation improving, at least in the near-term.
“This is bad, scary, and might get much, much worse before it gets better,” he said Monday on Twitter.
He’s encouraging policymakers and WMATA to plan now for worst-case scenarios and heavily focus on expanded bus service and pop-up bus lanes.
A Metro spokesperson told FFXnow that the service issues are not expected to impact the delivery of phase two of the Silver Line next year.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay says the county is investing in transit with projects over the next few years to cut congestion and incentivize public transportation, including bus rapid transit systems on Richmond Highway and Route 7.
“Ultimately, this incident demonstrates the need for extensive and accessible public transit infrastructure,” McKay said in a statement.
Still, there is no immediate plan to add bus drivers or routes to Fairfax Connector, the largest bus system in Northern Virginia, said transportation department spokesperson Robin Geiger.
She noted the system has room on express bus routes to D.C. and the Pentagon to accommodate additional riders, providing one alternative to rail.
Further down the road, Fairfax Connector is planning to add new express bus routes between Reston and Arlington using I-66 toll money. The county got a final approval on its application to the Commonwealth Transportation Board on Wednesday.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, which ranks the I-66 Commuter Choice program projects, reviewed the proposal last year. The approval will cover the costs of acquiring six new buses.
Good Friday evening, Fairfax County. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier…
Friday night’s performance by comedian Nate Bargatze is expected to draw the largest crowd ever to EagleBank Arena on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University, according to Monumental Sports…
Reston Association has adopted a new strategic plan that aims to continue the vision of Reston’s founder Bob Simon over the next three years.
A 93-year-old woman died earlier this week from injuries she sustained in a car crash on Leesburg Pike (Route 7) in Bailey’s Crossroads, police say. Gladys Bilbao, a Falls Church…
Great Clips at South Lakes Village Center (Reston, Virginia) is seeking hair donors to participate in the Wigs for Kids program this Valentines Week. If you meet the minimum requirements and would like to donate your hair for children fighting cancer, we would love to host you in our salon this Valentine’s Week for a free haircut.
Hair donations must be a minimum of 12 inches
Hair donations must be clean and stored/packaged completely dry.
Hair donations cannot be permed, color-treated, or highlighted.
Temporary coloring or highlights that wash out are acceptable but must be completely washed out before cutting. Gray hair is accepted.
Peace in Gaza: Prayer Liturgy and Community Discussion for Peace in Arlington VA, Sunday, Feb. 11, 10:15 AM
Prayer, liturgy, and community discussion for peace in Gaza, an immediate cease fire and resumption of humanitarian aid will be hosted by Nova Catholic Community. The focus will be Pope Francis’ call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, resumption of humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza, and peace talks for a lasting and just peace for all people in the region.
Discussion will follow at Noon on US military role in the conflict and appropriate steps the US should take to foster peace and rebuilding. Light lunch served.
The Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) Active Bystander Certification course, also known as Active Bystander, is the premier training program to prepare civilians for how to respond during an intentional violent event and to address life-threatening emergencies.
Similar to FEMA’s