Metro News Release

For immediate release: March 3, 2005

Metro Recommends First Phase of a Pilot Program to Enhance Railcar Capacity Aboard Metrorail Trains

Today, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) Board Planning and Development Committee recommended the first phase of a pilot program designed to increase Metrorail car capacity and improve passenger flow. Pending approval of the Metro Board of Directors on March 17, Metro will initiate the first phase of the pilot program by June 2005.

The comprehensive rail car capacity pilot program is designed to remove seats from Metrorail cars, allow for more standing room, and encourage customers to step into the center of the car and away from the doors. Throughout the pilot, Metro will monitor customer behavior.

Currently, the average Metrorail car seats 64 customers with a total capacity of up to 182 customers. Concepts presented to the Board Planning and Development Committee in January included removing anywhere from 8 to 48 seats inside a rail car, or installing longitudinal seating similar to rail cars that operate in the New York City Transit Authority subway system. The series of concepts were designed to increase railcar capacity by removing seats and changing seat configurations on Metro’s current fleet of railcars to reduce station dwell time through improved passenger flow.

The proposed rail car capacity pilot program will test two concepts. The first will remove eight seats, install and reconfigure handrails to reduce crowding at the doors. A total of 56 seats will remain in the rail car, with a total estimated capacity for 186 customers.

The second concept would remove 24 seats, install and reconfigure handrails to reduce crowding at the doors. A total of 40 seats would be inside the rail car, with a top capacity of 194 customers.

The proposed pilot program would utilize 16 (3000 series) rail cars - - a six-car train for each concept, plus two pairs (4 rail cars) as spares. Each of these trains would operate on a rotational basis on the Red, Orange and Green lines.

The pilot program would be conducted in two phases:

Phase One: This phase, tentatively approved today, will include the installation of on-board cameras to record data, which will occur every Wednesday for at least three months beginning in June 2005.

Phase Two: pending approval and subject to review of initial data in November 2005, would include the removal of rail car seats, reconfiguring handrails, continue recordings, and further discussion on a variety of enhancements to improve passenger flow during the demonstration period. If phase two is approved by the Board of Directors, customers would see the reconfigured 16 rail cars in service by the end of 2005, or early 2006.

An Ad-hoc committee would also be formed to evaluate the pilot program and to make recommendations on the program.

During the pilot program officials will be able to monitor dwell times inside train stations using new computer based technology to determine how long the train is at a station.

"By rearranging or eliminating seats in our rail cars, more customers would be able to board a train," said Pat Porzillo, Metro’s Chief Engineer for Operations. "Removing the windscreens and relocating the vertical bars currently found near the doorways would also provide more space for customers and encourage them to step inside the rail cars and away from the doors."

The total cost of the first phase of the pilot program is $260,000. Funding for this portion of the pilot program was made possible from the Railcar Enhancement Program, approved as part of the 2004 Capital Improvement Program.

News release issued on March 3, 2005.