Inauguration to impact Metro service for people with disabilities, senior citizens
Escalator/elevator availability, MetroAccess service limited
Metro officials are advising people with disabilities and senior citizens about travel conditions they are likely to face when using Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess on Inauguration Day and the days leading up to the event.
“Although Metrobus and Metrorail are fully accessible, and Metro is making every effort to ensure that this historic event is accessible to as many people as possible, security and environmental restrictions will make travel especially challenging for people with disabilities and senior citizens,” said Christian T. Kent, Metro’s Assistant General Manager of Access Services.
In the Metrorail system, riders may find it difficult to board packed trains and navigate crowded platforms. Many escalators will be turned off at strategic locations for safety reasons and to help with crowd control, and customers will have to walk up or down escalators to enter or exit Metrorail stations. Elevator access is likely to be limited by large numbers of people attempting to use them.
Metrobus will operate special enhanced service on 23 “Presidential” corridors on Inauguration Day, but buses on local routes will likely be delayed by street closures and heavy traffic throughout the Washington region.
Metro officials are notifying MetroAccess customers traveling to the Inauguration to be prepared for lengthy delays throughout the service area due to heavy traffic and street closures and crowded conditions in the streets and sidewalks in downtown Washington, D.C. Several bridges and highways also will be closed in the region, impacting street traffic.
“It will be extremely difficult for MetroAccess drivers to meet customers at prescheduled pick-up and drop-off locations in the District of Columbia,” said Kent. “Customers might be required to walk considerable distances due to extensive street closures, and there only will be a small number of accessible restroom facilities available.
“We are advising customers that if they have any concern about being able to navigate or endure these conditions, they should consider all factors before traveling into downtown Washington on these days,” Kent said.
MetroAccess will operate its regular schedule on Sunday, January 18, and Monday, January 19, but with limited service to the National Mall area. Customers should expect delays.
On Tuesday, January 20, MetroAccess will operate its regular schedule, but with no service to the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony and limited, if any, door-to-door service, particularly in the downtown core. Customers should expect major delays throughout the service area. To the extent allowable by road closures, MetroAccess will provide regular service after the parade. Customers planning to attend post-Inaugural celebrations and events in the downtown area should expect traffic congestion and delays.
MetroAccess subscription trips for January 17 through 20 are cancelled. If Metro determines that other trip reservations would require MetroAccess to enter restricted or otherwise unserviceable locations, those trip reservations may be cancelled.
Riders should sign up for special e-alerts dedicated to the Inauguration at http://www.wmata.com/inauguration. E-alerts will be issued when Metro has news relating to service throughout Inauguration weekend.
News release issued at 10:21 am, January 12, 2009.