Metro Forward Posts

Metro Forward:  A Better Ride.  A Better System.  A Better Experience.

Metro forwardMetro has embarked on an ambitious 6-year, $5 billion improvement program designed to enhance the transit experience for our passengers.  We’re calling it Metro Forward.  The program includes renovation and rebuilding of infrastructure and track, new s and buses, and upgraded technology.  The result will be a thoroughly modernized Metro system to provide you with safe, reliable, and comfortable transit, today and for years to come.

As we move forward with these improvements, we’re committed to keeping you informed. This new educational campaign and our series of posts are geared at providing ongoing, timely information about Metro Forward and its benefits, as well as any necessary changes to Metro transit services as the improvements are carried out.  In addition, these posts will be used to provide you with general tips, resources, and information to help you take advantage of all that Metro has to offer. 

We’ve kept you in suspense long enough — wondering what types of improvements you can expect? 

  • Acquisition of 428 new 7000 Series rail cars that are safer, roomier, with more amenities.
  • Replacement of 60 miles of rail, to improve Metrorail reliability and on-time performance and provide a smoother ride.
  • Purchase of 100 new buses a year for the next six years, with improved amenities and safety and security equipment.  Improved maintenance will also help maintain the average vehicle age at 7.5 years, meaning fewer breakdowns.  Newer technology will make Next Bus predictions more accurate.
  • Overhauls of 144 escalators and complete replacement of nine others, at 25 different stations.  Escalator overhauls make escalators more reliable and speed travel through stations.
  • Upgrades to rail stations, including better public address systems and enhanced security through cameras at station entrances.

A Better Metro — Who Knew?

We’ll also be using Facebook and Twitter to keep you informed, so be sure to “Like” or “Follow” us. 


Need To Know | Weekend Track Work Starting 8/19 at 10:00 p.m.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Construction and rehabilitation work around the Metrorail system is scheduled begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, August 19 through system closing on Sunday night, August 21. Much of this improvement work will affect service during the entire weekend.

Want to know where the affected areas are? Just take a look below.

Red Line
Five stations will be closed as major track work continues. Shuttle buses will replace train service at Takoma, Silver Spring, Forest Glen, Wheaton and Glenmont. Customers are asked to add up to 45 minutes of additional travel time. Regular Red Line train service will operate between Fort Totten and Shady Grove.
Shuttle bus service runs in two forms.  One shuttle route will serve Silver Spring, Takoma and Fort Totten stations only. The second shuttle route will operate between Fort Totten and Glenmont, making all intermediate station stops.

This weekend, Metro crews will:

  • Replace and weld new rail (watch this video)
  • Replace track ties and rail fasteners (learn how ties get replaced)
  • Install new communications cables to enhance cell phone coverage
  • Conduct preventative elevator and escalator maintenance

Blue Line
Trains will depart every 20 minutes from both Largo Town Center and Franconia-Springfield. Trains will be single tracking in two locations along the Blue Line: between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road; and again between Arlington Cemetery and Pentagon City. Customers should plan an additional 20 minutes of travel time en route.

Work is being done to replace the concrete slabs supporting the rails, which will result in a smoother ride for you.

Yellow Line
Trains will operate every 20 minutes between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square. There will no Yellow Line service to Fort Totten this weekend; customers traveling beyond Mt. Vernon Square should transfer to a Green Line train.

This schedule adjustment is necessary due to Blue Line track work, above.

Orange Line
Trains will share one track between West Falls Church and Vienna all weekend. Plan up to 20 additional minutes when traveling through the affected area. Between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday, every other Orange Line train will turn back at West Fall Church Station.

Crews are set to renew rails and track ties between West Falls Church and Vienna.

For additional details of this weekend’s track work, review the press release; and be sure to check out the major track work calendar for details about upcoming projects.


Videos from This Past Weekend's Track Work

Wednesday, August 10, 2011



Track work this weekend on the Red Line

Thursday, August 4, 2011

This weekend is the first major weekend of track work under Metro’s new approach that involves shutting down portions of a line and substituting buses for trains through the work zone. Replacing trains with buses to allow work to proceed on a faster timetable and to preserve normal or near-normal weekend service levels elsewhere on the line.

Beginning at 10 p.m. Friday and continuing through closing on Sunday, buses will replace Red Line trains between Rockville and Bethesda. Four Metrorail stations will be closed:

  • Twinbrook
  • White Flint
  • Grosvenor
  • Medical Center

Bus and Rail operations personnel have been planning for this weekend for months to minimize customer impact. Buses will depart at frequent intervals from the bus bays at each station, with as many as 45 buses at a time shuttling customers through the affected area. More than 50 Metro ambassadors wearing yellow vests will be on hand to answer questions and direct customers who need assistance.

Bus shuttles will operate with express and local service:

  • Express buses will operate directly between Rockville and Bethesda via Rockville Pike
  • Local buses will stop at all intermediate stations (Rockville, Twinbrook, White Flint, Grosvenor, Medical Center, Bethesda)

Elsewhere on the line, train service will operate normally between Bethesda and Glenmont. Trains between Shady Grove and Rockville will operate every 20 minutes.

With both tracks out of service, crews will have the opportunity to maximize the work we can get done, including:

  • installation of new rails, ties and fasteners
  • installation of new communication cables to enhance cell phone coverage
  • repair leaks in tunnels to prevent corrosion and deterioration
  • perform preventative maintenance on 10 escalators and 23 elevators
  • advance platform rehabilitation work at Twinbrook and White Flint
  • HVAC maintenance and repair
  • station cleaning and landscaping

For complete details, please see the news release. You can also check out the major trackwork calendar to see our plans months in advance.


Don't feed Metro's escalators

Friday, July 8, 2011

Please don't feed the escalators imageYes, they’re hungry, but they have highly specific dietary needs and shoes have no nutritional value.  In fact, each escalator is made up of thousands of parts and requires ongoing maintenance to continue working properly. So when they swallow shoes and other objects, they feel under the weather and often must be taken out of service for repair and inspection.

To ensure your safety and to make sure Metro’s escalators are healthy and can run smoothly:

  • Use caution, especially when wearing flip flops and soft-soled shoes.  (Consider saving flip flops for the beach.)
  • Keep your feet away from the edges.
  • Raise your feet as you step on and off.
  • Pay attention!  Don't text or read while riding an escalator.
  • Keep loose clothing or shoelaces away from the moving parts.
  • Don’t run or sit on the escalator steps.


New Generation of Metro Rail Cars: Coming Soon to a Station Near You

Thursday, July 7, 2011

With input from customers, we’re advancing the design of a brand new fleet of rail cars called the 7000 Series.  

Customers told us they liked a blue and grey color scheme, and provided feedback on materials and features, including:

  • A stainless steel exterior
  • Vinyl padded seats and seat-back grab handles
  • Added handholds in the door area and vertical poles at each seat – for a total of 25% more linear feet of bars more than in the most recently built cars.
  • Nonslip flooring instead of carpet
  • Larger aisles and better designation of priority seating areas
  • Improved LED lighting
  • Privacy screens in the vestibule areas
  • Dynamic LCD route maps to allow customers to easily track train locations and station names
  • High-tech automated public address systems and closed circuit cameras for added safety and security.

After years of gathering rider input, with more extensive outreach to customers, employees and stakeholder groups over the last several months, Metro presented the final design to its Board’s Customers Service and Operations Committee at its meeting today.   According to Assistant General Manager for Customer Service, Communications and Marketing Barbara J. Richardson, customers describe the new car features as safe, comfortable, spacious, forward-looking and customer focused. The Series 7000 rail cars will also feature many technical improvements that were influenced by input from operations and safety personnel:

  • Using "quad-unit configuration," meaning that four railcars will be connected, reducing the number of operating compartments.  Using this configuration will increase capacity by 40 passengers per 8-car train.
  • Vertically oriented touch screen controls for train operators and better diagnostics for easier evaluation and troubleshooting if there are mechanical problems
  • Placement of certain gauges and relocation of the master controller
  • Exterior emergency door activation

Metro has ordered 364 rail cars from Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc., who will manufacture the new cars in Lincoln, NE.  Of that total number, 300 will be used to replace Metro’s oldest rail cars, the Series 1000 rail cars, and the remaining 64 cars are slated to support the expansion of Metro service on the Dulles rail corridor and run throughout the system.

"Our customers will benefit from an improved design that accommodates many of their preferences and ultimately delivers a more reliable and more comfortable rider experience," said Richard Sarles, Metro’s General Manager/CEO. "The attention to detail of these cars will be evident to the customers, employees and stakeholders who invested their time to help us get this right." Sarles said.

The delivery schedule calls for the cars to start arriving on Metro property in 2013, and undergo a rigorous, months-long inspection process.

Get more info in the news release


We know single tracking slows your roll

Monday, June 27, 2011

Over this past weekend, we heard from many of you about the delays caused by single tracking on several Metrorail lines.  

Two red lines to shady grove, w/in a min of each other, 19 n 20 mins away. Wtf

@metroopensdoors trying to go anywhere on the weekend is painful.

Wait... I know there's construction, but only four trains in service on the Red Line to Glenmont? I thought this was public transit.

It goes without saying that there is a critical need for track work on Metro.  We are working aggressively to advance NTSB safety recommendations and to bring our infrastructure back to a state of good repair.  In the long run, the work we're doing now will mean a safer, more reliable ride for you for years to come.  

Yet, because Metro is a two-track system, any work must take place either during the short time the system is closed each night or, for larger projects, on weekends.

Currently, we use single tracking to give crews access to the tracks while still continuing to operate trains through the work zone.  When single tracking is in effect, it means that trains can only operate in one direction at a time for a stretch of railroad.  Trains must wait their turn, leading to delays that can often be in the 15-20 minute range.  When you combine this with weekend schedules where trains run every 12 minutes or so, you could experience a wait of up to 30 minutes on a platform.  Worse yet, single tracking impacts every customer on a line—even those far away from the work zone.

Frankly, we don't like this any more than you do... And that's why we're doing something about it.

Later this summer, we're launching a new approach to weekend track work that will mean less single tracking and less inconvenience for more customers.  Check out the press release we issued earlier this month:

Metro announces new approach to weekend track work
Minimizes customer inconvenience while accelerating NTSB safety recommendations

Metro will accelerate its efforts to improve safety and return the system to a state of good repair while impacting fewer customers through a new approach to track work announced today at the Board Customer Service and Operations Committee.

For about two of every three weekends over the next 18 months, the new approach involves temporarily closing individual stations or clusters of stations and replacing trains with buses to allow work to proceed on a faster timetable and to preserve normal or near-normal weekend service levels elsewhere on the line.

"Our new approach will enable us to get more work done, more safely and more effectively with less overtime, while inconveniencing fewer customers than we otherwise would given the massive rebuilding effort we’re undertaking," said Richard Sarles, Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer.

The approach is similar to major construction work such as the project that recently took place over Memorial Day weekend. Rather than attempting to single-track every train through a work zone—affecting service on the entire line—customers instead will be provided free shuttle bus service around the work area.

"Focusing our resources in centralized locations will help minimize weekend single tracking and customer impacts elsewhere on the rail system," said Dave Kubicek, Metro’s Deputy General Manager of Operations.

As an example of projects that will be completed ahead of schedule through the program, Kubicek pointed to Metro’s plans to replace track circuit modules on the Red Line to comply with National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations.

"This will put us on a path to complete NTSB-recommended track circuit replacement on the Red Line about 18 months sooner – by this time next year, as opposed to late 2013 if the work only took place during non-revenue hours," Kubicek said.

Metro officials are finalizing the schedule of upcoming rail construction projects and related station closures and will make the list public in the near future. Extensive public notification and outreach is planned to give customers ample notice about the weekend track work.

The benefits of the new approach are:

  • Track work will affect fewer customers
  • Trains will operate more normally outside the work zone, with fewer delays
  • Necessary track work will get done faster and safer

We really appreciate your understanding as we work to rebuild Metro.  While there will still be delays and inconvenience associated with the critical work we're undertaking, please be assured that we will do whatever we can to try to minimize your inconvenience.

As always, thanks for riding Metro.


Board Passes FY12 Budget with No Fare Increase or Significant Service Cuts

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some really good news for Metro riders out of today's Board Meeting.  The Metro Board approved an FY12 budget that includes no fare increases or significant service cuts while continuing our aggressive capital program to rebuild our infrastructure and equipment to improve safety, reliability and customer service.

That means:


  • No fare increase (except for the elimination of the Anacostia "special fare")
  • No changes to late-night Metrorail service
  • No changes to weekend Metrorail service levels
  • Just a handful of minor bus route adjustments/eliminations

How did they this, you ask?  Each of the jurisdictions served by Metro –  Maryland, the District and Virginia, together with the Federal Government – stepped up to the plate to provide an increased funding contribution.  Jurisdictional funding is what allows us to move Metro Forward, and we are truly grateful for the support we received this year.

Also noteworthy is that we are forecasting a favorable finish to this fiscal year, and careful budget management has put us in a position to repay to the capital program all of the extra preventive maintenance money transferred in the previous year.  This $30 million repayment will allow us to increase funding for escalator reconstruction by $2 million and accelerate by one year the purchase of 51 new 30-foot buses, at a cost of $28 million.

Read more


Metro’s Addressing an Escalating Problem

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Escalators, like most things, become less reliable with age, and are more prone to problems or breakdowns that can slow your trip or commute.  That’s why Metro’s $5 billion capital improvement program calls for an overhaul to our system’s escalators in order to improve performance and ease traffic through stations.  

Who Knew…?

  • Metro has the most escalators (588) and elevators (237 in stations and parking garages) of any transit system in North America.
  • Metro's longest escalator is at the Wheaton station – a whopping 230 feet!

We’ve got our work cut out for us.  We’re overhauling or replacing 153 escalators, at 25 stations, on every line of the system.  This includes 9 brand-new escalators and 144 escalators restored to near-new condition.  Escalators are composed of thousands of moving parts that are exposed to significant wear and tear. Best practices suggest that they should be thoroughly rehabilitated and modernized every 20 years to ensure a lifespan of 30 years. (Some escalators on the Metro system already exceed that lifespan.)  In addition to operating more consistently, modernized escalators are up to 30% more energy efficient and are equipped with state-of-the-art technology to help Metro monitor performance. 

A typical escalator overhaul takes an average of 3 months, depending on the age and state of the unit and the availability of needed parts.  We’re doing all that we can to minimize your inconvenience as we make these necessary upgrades.   Alternate escalators, stairs, and/or elevators will be available to serve you when our escalators are closed for rehab or replacement.  Check out our Elevator and Escalator Service Status page for the latest information regarding escalator down-time, including a description of the work being done and an estimate of the return to service date.  We’re working hard to provide a better commute, and a better system, for you. 


Pay it Smart with SmarTrip®

Thursday, June 16, 2011

SmarTrip Cards are the quick and convenient way to pay and track your rail and/or bus fare.  The plastic cards, which are the size of a credit card, have computer chips that allow you to load up to $300 in value and avoid having to carry cash, coins or transfers.  Rather than swiping a farecard through the Metrorail or Metrobus slot, simply touch your SmarTrip Card to the faregate or farebox as you board.  Online account management lets you register your card, view your card balance and history, load additional funds, and register new cards.  You can even track and manage your account from your mobile device. Register here.

Registered SmarTrip Cards also offer security in case of loss, damage, or theft.  Report the card missing, damaged, or stolen and, for a $5 replacement fee, we’ll issue a new card with the value that is on the card at the time you notify us.  You can even transfer the balance from an existing used (value of $7 or less) or unused Metrochek to your new SmarTrip Card.
In addition to Metrorail and Metrobus, use your SmarTrip Card with any of the following area transit providers:  DASH, Ride On, Fairfax Connector, ART, CUE, Loudoun County Transit, Omniride, TheBus, DC Circulator, and registered van pools (pdf). The remaining commuter buses and rail systems plan to accept SmarTrip Cards in the near future.

Ready to Purchase?  Cards can be purchased for $5 online with your Visa, MasterCard or Discover Card, at Metro sales offices, retail outlets, and commuter stores or in vending machines at any station where parking is available.  Senior citizens (65 and older) can purchase a reduced-fare SmarTrip Card.  Be sure to bring your valid, government-issued photo ID, with proof of your age, when you purchase your card.  Persons with disabilities are also eligible for a reduced-fare card when you present your valid Metro Disability ID. 


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