Metro takes additional steps, coordinates with public health authorities on COVID-19
Weekend: Metro service limited to 26 bus routes, reduced rail service; expect wait times of 30 minutes; customers urged to travel only if essential
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, Metro will operate significantly reduced rail and bus service this weekend, maintaining a core network of 26 “lifeline” bus routes and providing twice-hourly rail service for our region’s essential travel needs. Essential travel includes medical providers and hospital staff, first responders, critical government functions, individuals involved in helping the community respond to COVID-19, grocery and pharmacy trips, among others.
• Please follow urgent guidance from state and local officials: Stay at home.
• Metro is intended for essential trips only. Do not take Metro to view cherry blossoms or other non-essential trips.
• If you are not feeling well, do not take public transportation. Call your healthcare provider before you leave your home and follow their guidance.
Metro has closed 19 of the system’s 91 rail stations until further notice. The closure list includes stations near the Tidal Basin to discourage anyone from using Metro to visit the cherry blossoms this year.
On Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, March 29, Metro will provide lifeline service between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11 p.m. as follows:
Metrorail: Trains will operate on all lines, serving all open stations. Take note of 19 stations that are closed (no alternate transportation provided). Customers should expect wait times of up to 30 minutes between trains.
Metrobus: Service will operate on a limited schedule only on the 26 routes listed below. Routes that are not listed will not operate. Customers should expect wait times of up to 30 minutes between buses. The hours that buses operate will vary by route but will generally align with the start and end of service on a Sunday schedule. Please be aware that bus operators may bypass stops if necessary to maintain proper social distancing aboard the vehicle. Please use the rear door of the bus only.
• 54 – 14th Street Line
• S4 – 16th Street Line
• 70 – Georgia Avenue – 7th Street Line
• 83 – College Park Line
• 90 – U Street – Garfield Line
• C4 – Greenbelt – Twinbrook Line
• X2 – Benning Road – H Street Line
• 16C – Columbia Pike Line
• 28A – Leesburg Pike Line
• 29K – Alexandria – Fairfax Line
• 29N – Alexandria – Fairfax Line
• 30N – Friendship Heights – Southeast Line
• 30S – Friendship Heights – Southeast Line
• A6 – Anacostia – Congress Heights Line
• B2 – Bladensburg Road – Anacostia Line
• D12 - Oxon Hill-Suitland Line
• F4 - New Carrollton-Silver Spring Line
• H4 – Crosstown Line
• J2 – Bethesda – Silver Spring Line
• K6 – New Hampshire Avenue – Maryland Line
• P12 – Eastover – Addison Road Line
• REX – Richmond Highway Express
• V4 - Capitol Heights-Minnesota Avenue Line
• W4 – Deanwood – Alabama Avenue Line
• Y2 – Georgia Avenue – Maryland Line
• Z8 – Fairland
New shuttles available to all customers but using MetroAccess vans will connect three rail stations with hospitals from 8am through 11pm to match the rail schedule.
Shuttle from: Friendship Heights Station
Transfer location: Bus Bay G, Stop #2001506
Georgetown University Hospital
Shuttle from: Dupont Metro (Q Street)
Transfer location: Bus Stop #1003746
Prince George’s Hospital
New Carrollton (South Side)
Bus Bay A, Stop #3003032
MetroAccess: Service will continue to operate during the same hours as rail and bus services. Metro continues to emphasize that customers must not use MetroAccess to travel to healthcare appointments if they are showing signs of illness for the safety of our employees and other passengers. If you are ill, call your healthcare provider and make transportation arrangements that do not involve public transportation. In addition, the MetroAccess Eligibility Center is closed until further notice.
Metro is operating at the highest response level of its Pandemic Response Plan (Phase 3), and the transit authority’s Pandemic Task Force is actively monitoring developments and acting when necessary to protect employees, customers, and the community. During Phase 3, the public is reminded emergency service changes may be necessary. While Metro will always make every effort to give its customers as much notice as possible, please understand emergency adjustments during Phase 3 may occur at any time, with little or no advance notice.
To stay informed:
Metro to close additional 17 stations and selected entrances amid low-ridership, need to conserve critical cleaning supplies during COVID-19 response
Metro’s Pandemic Task Force today announced the strategic closing of 17 additional stations, effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, in an effort to conserve critical resources and protect the health and safety of Metro employees and the public. This follows drastic measures already taken to reduce travel on Metro to essential trips only, leading to a Metrorail ridership decline of 90 percent.
These steps will help reduce the risk of exposure to employees and save critical cleaning supplies for the remaining stations. While Metro increased its on-hand warehouse inventory of essential supplies, such as hospital-grade disinfectant, wipes, hand sanitizer, and other items used by Metro’s frontline employees, suppliers are experiencing delivery delays. Metro is taking action to make its current 2-3 week warehouse supply stretch until massive orders placed in late January are received.
Each Metrorail station has multiple escalators, faregates and other high touch surfaces that are being cleaned daily, including some stations with multiple entrances. By reducing the number of entrances, Metro will be able to better protect its workforce and customers and prolong the inventory of these critical supplies needed to keep the system open.
Beginning on Thursday, March 26, Metro will close 17 additional stations following the closures of Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations last week. The 19 stations will remain closed until further notice and trains will pass through without stopping.
The following stations within walking distance or close proximity (less than one mile) to an adjacent station will be closed:
- Federal Center SW - use L’Enfant Plaza or Capitol South
- Federal Triangle – use Metro Center
- Mt Vernon Sq, Judiciary Sq, Archives – use Gallery Place-Chinatown
- Greensboro – use Spring Hill or Tysons Corner
- Eisenhower Ave – use King St-Old Town
- Virginia Square – use Ballston
- Cleveland Park – use Woodley Park or Van Ness
With Metrorail ridership down 90 percent, the following stations with extremely low-ridership will also be closed:
- Grosvenor-Strathmore (230 trips yesterday)
- Cheverly (159 trips yesterday)
- Clarendon (299 trips yesterday)
- East Falls Church (239 trips yesterday)
- College Park (325 trips yesterday)
- McLean (148 trips yesterday)
- Morgan Boulevard (322 trips yesterday)
- Van Dorn St (404 trips yesterday)
Even with the station closures, four out of five Metrorail stations (72 of 91) will remain open for essential travel only.
Metro will also close some station entrances to conserve cleaning supplies and create additional workforce flexibility. The stations will remain open for customers to enter and exit from other available entrances.
- Anacostia – Entrance serving parking garage at Howard Rd north of the Anacostia Freeway closed; bus bay side open
- Farragut North - SW corner of L St & Connecticut Ave closed; 2 other entrances open
- Dupont Circle - South Entrance 19th St & Connecticut Ave closed; Q Street (north) entrance open
- Metro Center - 12th & F sts entrance closed; 3 other entrances open
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport - North entrance closed (Terminal C); South station entrance (Terminal B) open
- U Street – Memorial side U St & Vermont Ave closed; 13th & U sts entrance open
- Gallery Place--Chinatown - 9th St & G St entrance closed; 2 other entrances open
- L'Enfant Plaza - 7th & D sts entrance closed; Maryland Ave & 9th & D sts entrances open
- Friendship Heights – Jennifer St entrance closed; Western Ave entrance open
The combined effect of the station closures and entrance closures reduces by 25% the number of entrances requiring cleaning and staffing, from 118 to 88.
Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess are operating limited service and hours for essential trips only.
DO NOT TRAVEL UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
Metro has developed an online dashboard for that will serve as a clearinghouse of information regarding confirmed employee cases. Available at wmata.com/covidstats, the new COVID-19 Public Information page provides at-a-glance information regarding the number of cases, basic health status (hospitalized vs at home), general information about the location and job function of the employee, and releasable information regarding close contacts.
Metrobus implements rear-door boarding systemwide, starting Tuesday
While emphasizing that bus service is limited to essential trips only, Metro is taking additional action to enhance the safety of its frontline workforce by implementing rear-door boarding across the Metrobus system, effective Tuesday, March 24. Several other U.S. transit systems have already implemented rear-door boarding in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Starting tomorrow, all Metrobus riders are asked to enter and exit the bus using the rear door at all times, except anyone needing the ADA boarding ramp (e.g. people using wheelchairs), or anyone requesting the bus to “kneel” to facilitate their boarding.
Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld authorized rear-door boarding following a request from ATU Local 689 President Raymond Jackson, as an additional step to help protect bus operators working during the national emergency. Each of Metro’s 1,500 buses are already equipped with a plexiglass shield that provides a physical barrier between the operator and passengers, and Metro has given bus operators the discretion to bypass bus stops if they believe the bus is at its maximum capacity to maintain social distancing requirements.
Because farebox equipment is located at the front of the bus, Metro is waiving fare payment for Metrobus customers during this time.
Signage and plastic barriers have been installed to remind customers to use the rear doors, while not impeding customers’ use of the front door in the event of an emergency.
Metrobus ridership has declined 65 percent during the COVID-19 outbreak, a figure that is less than the 90 percent drop-off on Metrorail. The public is reminded that limited bus capacity must be preserved for essential trips – such as doctors, nurses, and first responders traveling to or from work. If you must travel, first consider other options, such as walking, biking, scooters, taxi, etc.
WEEKDAY SCHEDULE ANNOUNCEMENT: Limited service for essential trips only; public urged to stay home; use Metro only if no other options available
Metro today announced expected rail and bus service levels for the week of Monday, March 23, through Friday, March 27. Transit service remains significantly scaled back to protect the health and safety of Metro employees, customers and the public as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to disrupt all aspects of life in the region.
“Metro will do everything we can to protect the everyday heroes who are driving buses, running trains, monitoring stations and helping people with disabilities. Our frontline colleagues make a choice each day to leave their homes at a time of great anxiety and uncertainty. They do it out of a sense of duty – and to support this community. In turn, I ask the community to support them by staying home,” said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld.
Metro has been asking the public to limit their use of Metro to essential travel only for nine days. Starting tomorrow, it will be even more imperative that the public follow this guidance.
“We all need to think of transit service as a limited resource because, right now, it is. If you are boarding a bus when you could walk, that increases the likelihood of the bus reaching capacity and having to bypass a stop where a nurse might be heading in to start a shift,” Wiedefeld said.
- Trains will operate every 20 minutes on all lines except Red Line.
- Red Line trains will operate every 15 minutes.
- Stations serviced by multiple lines will see trains arrive every 7-10 minutes. For example, Rosslyn, served by the Blue, Orange and Silver lines, will have train service to DC about every 7 minutes.
- Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations will remain closed until further notice to keep non-essential cherry blossom travel off the rail system at this time of national emergency.
- Buses will run on a modified Sunday schedule. Supplemental trips will not operate; however, some routes that provide weekday-only service to essential federal workplaces have been added to the schedule.
- Visit wmata.com for a list of routes that are – and are not – operating this week.
- Responding to a request from union leadership, beginning Tuesday, all Metrobus customers will enter and exit the bus using the REAR doors only, except customers who require use of a wheelchair ramp, which remains available at the front door. Metro is also temporarily suspending fare collection on Metrobus, because all farebox and SmarTrip equipment is located at the front door. Metro reserves the ability to discontinue this policy at any time.
- All subscription trips remain canceled. Please limit all travel to only the most essential.
Since moving to an “essential travel only” message on March 13, Metro ridership has declined with each successive commuting day as citizens following the guidance to stay home and practice social distancing to flatten the curve (rate of community spread). Rail ridership on Friday was down more than 86 percent and bus down 65 percent.
Unfortunately, too many people continue to use Metrobus, where capacity is extremely limited and additional service reductions are expected. Metro wants to provide bus service for essential trips in the region, but if continued usage for non-essential trips becomes a public health concern, Metro may consider discontinuing all bus service. Simply put: public health concerns take priority over individual transportation needs.
Metro has taken unprecedented steps in response to the public health emergency for the safety of employees, customers and the general public. Under the direction of its Pandemic Task Force, Metro has reduced service levels and hours; closed the Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations to discourage non-essential cherry blossom trips; stepped up cleaning of all high-touch surfaces on buses, trains and in stations; and given bus operators discretion to bypass bus stops if their vehicle is too crowded to maintain safe social distancing.
Metro continues to prioritize the health and safety of frontline employees by closing restrooms to the public at all 91 stations; relieving station managers of certain duties outside the kiosk to reduce risk of exposure; modifying absence policies allowing employees to take leave for certain COVID-19 concerns; and providing employees with direct access to professional medical staff through an email and phone hotline.
Metro’s Pandemic Response Plan remains at Phase 3, the highest response level, and will remain there until the COVID-19 public health emergency subsides. Metro may make emergency service reductions at any time if necessary to protect employees and riders.
The next anticipated service change is expected to be the strategic closure of selected Metrorail stations and entrances to save critical cleaning supplies. Each station entrance is equipped with at least one escalator (most with multiple escalators), and unless closed, require cleaning in accordance with Metro’s pandemic response standards.
Metrobus weekend service reduced to only 20 routes starting at 5 p.m. Saturday and all day Sunday
As of 5 p.m. Saturday, March 21, and all day Sunday, March 22, Metrobus service will operate as follows:
- Buses running only on 20 highest-ridership corridors. These routes are: 54, S4, 70, 83, 90, C4, X2, 16C, 28A, 29K, 29N, 30N, 30S, A6, A8, B2, D12, F4, H4, J2, K6, P12, REX, V4, W4, Y2, Z8
- There are no buses running on any other routes.
- Please limit use of Metro to essential trips only, Space is extremely limited, and Metro does not have the option of adding service due to COVID-19 effects.
- In the event of crowding, bus operators have been granted the discretion to bypass stops to maintain safe social distancing aboard the vehicle.
Metro is operating an emergency schedule to maintain service on these critical routes. Please be advised that digital signs, websites, apps, and timetables will NOT reflect accurate information about bus schedules this weekend.
Metro regrets the emergency service change necessary this weekend. For updated information, sign up for MetroAlerts and check the Status and Alerts page at wmata.com or Metro's social media channel @Metrobusinfo
Metro makes additional reductions this weekend due to workforce availability challenges; trains every 30 minutes, supplemental bus trips cancelled
Due to workforce availability challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak, Metro is making additional adjustments to this weekend’s service, Saturday, March 21, and Sunday, March 22, 2020:
- Trains will now operate every 30 minutes on all lines
- Hours remain 8AM-11PM
- Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations remain closed until further notice to prevent Cherry Blossom travel
- Buses will operate on a Sunday schedule with no supplemental routes
- In the event of crowding, bus operators may bypass stops to maintain safe social distancing aboard the vehicle.
DO NOT TRAVEL UNLESS NECESSARY. METRO SERVICE IS LIMITED (EVERY 30 MIN/LINE). ALL SPACE MUST BE PRESERVED FOR ESSENTIAL TRIPS ONLY. Consider alternatives to using transit, such as walking, biking, scooters, or delivery services.
"Metrobus operators and all of our frontline colleagues have the same pressures as everyone else right now. They have families, kids out of school, loved ones with health concerns, and others may know someone already impacted by the Coronavirus. Despite these pressures, and despite understandable concerns, our workforce is showing up out of a sense of duty to the community and a responsibility to the nation," Wiedefeld said. "Space on Metro is a resource that needs to be reserved for essential travel, including the first responders, doctors and nurses working to keep us all safe. They are responding to the call out of concern for you, please stay home out of concern for them."
With rail ridership down by 85 percent Thursday compared to last year, Metro has strategically reduced service levels to protect frontline workers, while at the same time maintaining limited transit service to support the regional and national response. Metro’s Operations division now reports availability challenges due to operators opting to decline overtime opportunities to focus on family obligations, absences associated with high-risk groups, and scheduling restrictions necessary to support workforce redundancy strategies. As an example, out of concern that even a single, potential COVID-19 exposure among Metro's control center personnel could force the rail system to shut down for weeks, Metro took unprecedented action to mitigate the risk by activating its backup Rail Operations Control Center and assigning essential control center staff into multiple teams. The teams are isolated from each other to prevent an exposure on one team from impacting Metro's continuity of operations. The dual control centers, located about 10 miles apart, alternate control of the rail system at 8-hour intervals with cleaning and disinfecting taking place during the downtime.
Despite the dramatically lower ridership this week, Metro officials remain concerned about people using Metro for non-essential trips, including travel to the National Mall and Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms. Faced with the combination of peak bloom today and warm spring weather, Metro took preemptive action to deter non-essential use of the transit system by closing Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations until further notice.
Metro's Pandemic Task Force continues to prioritize the safety of employees, customers and the general public above all else, working around the clock to monitor and respond to the evolving situation and coordinating with state and local officials. Metro has implemented some of the strongest protections for frontline workers during the pandemic, including granting bus operators the discretion to not accept additional passengers if the operator believes that social distancing cannot be maintained, closing all restrooms across the 91-station rail system, banning visitors and certain deliveries to Metro facilities, relieving station managers of selected duties outside the kiosk to limit their public exposure, enhanced cleaning of all high-touch surfaces, allowing employees to utilize liberal leave for certain COVID-19 concerns, establishing email and phone hotlines for COVID-19 concerns that go directly to Metro's Chief Medical Officer and professional medical staff, and a massive authority-wide preparedness effort that began 51 days ago, on January 29.
Metro to close Smithsonian, Arlington Cemetery Stations to prevent Cherry Blossom travel
Metro today announced the closures of Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations, effective 5 p.m. today (Thursday, March 19), to discourage the use of Metrorail for recreational visits to view the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin. Metro is open for ESSENTIAL TRIPS ONLY to maintain regional mobility for hospital staff, government officials, and emergency responders. The two stations will remain closed until further notice
Rail system will close at 11PM daily until further notice… Buses may bypass stops if vehicle is too full…. Public urged to use Metro for essential trips only… Do not visit Cherry Blossoms
Metro’s Pandemic Task Force today announced major service reductions during the ongoing pandemic response. The changes further draw-down service to protect frontline employees, while maintaining regional mobility for essential trips taken by hospital staff, government officials, and emergency responders. The reduction takes into account the urgent public guidance from regional leaders, along with emergency orders to cancel events, close schools and offices, and limit social gatherings across the nation.
Our region is speaking with one voice: Stay home. Essential travel only. Metro ridership was down nearly 70 percent across the board yesterday. As a result, starting tomorrow, service will be further reduced – on both bus and rail – to allow even more cleaning and to reduce sharing of workspaces and vehicles for employee safety. For the first time, the Metro Task Force will reduce rail system hours with an earlier closing time across the week.
“As members of our community stay home from work, school and social gatherings – following the critical emergency guidance of Governors Hogan and Northam and Mayor Bowser – Metro will reduce service and implement measures to reduce risk for employees and the public,” said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “To be clear, Metro intends to be there to provide service for essential trips in our community – as long as it is safe and appropriate to do so. If everyone does their part and stays home whenever possible, Metro will be there for hospital staff and other heroes who need us at this unprecedented moment in our lives.”
Specifically, the Task Force is urging the public to NOT travel to view the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin so that limited transit capacity remains available for essential travel (e.g. doctors, nurses, essential governmental functions, etc.). Metro reserves the right to close stations near the Tidal Basin at any time to discourage the use of Metro for tourist trips.
In addition, Metro is acting urgently to further reduce the number of employees required at any time and working to create additional redundancy in Metro’s workforce to protect service continuity.
“The actions directed by the Task Force today will help Metro return to normal service when the pandemic emergency is over and our region begins to recover,” said Theresa M. Impastato, Metro’s Chief Safety Officer, who is leading Metro’s response to the pandemic and advising the General Manager.
Effective tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18)—and continuing until further notice—Metro service will operate as follows:
- Rail system hours and service levels are further reduced to support essential travel only. DO NOT TRAVEL UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Follow guidance from your state and local authorities.
- New hours: Weekdays 5AM-11PM, Sat/Sun 8AM-11PM
- Trains will run every 15 minutes on each line at all times, including the Red Line. All trains will operate with 8 cars, the maximum possible length, to help maintain social distancing between customers.
- Metro’s Rail Operations Control Centers (two) will actively monitor trains and station platforms for any possible crowding, something that has not been an issue at any point during the pandemic emergency response.
- Metro is reducing/cancelling track work, except emergency maintenance and inspections, to avoid unexpected delays and maintain 15-minute intervals between trains.
- Bus hours and service levels are further reduced to support essential travel only. DO NOT TRAVEL UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Follow guidance from your state and local authorities.
- Buses will operate on a Sunday schedule, with supplemental service on selected routes to prevent crowding and ensure areas are not cut off. Visit wmata.com for information about “supplemental” routes that will operate, in addition to Sunday routes.
- IMPORTANT: Bus operators are granted the authority to bypass bus stops to maintain safe social distancing aboard the vehicle.
- These actions reduce the number of Metro employees and buses required to maintain service by more than 60 percent.
- All subscription trips are cancelled until further notice. Customers with a critical need to travel should make a separate reservation calling 301-562-5360 (TTY 301-588-7535) or via the online reservation system.
- Customers are strongly encouraged to travel ONLY IF ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
IF YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL OR HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS, YOU MUST AVOID TAKING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, INCLUDING METROACCESS.
Instead, do the following:
- CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE LEAVING YOUR HOME. Do not show up without calling first. Your healthcare provider may want to send you to an alternate location.
- FOLLOW YOUR PROVIDER’S INSTRUCTIONS. Don’t use public transit. Let your doctor’s office know if you have transportation needs. They will provide instructions for you to get help. Again, to protect the health and safety our employees, their families, and your fellow passengers, do not use Metro if you are not feeling well.
Due to the emergency service adjustments, Metro’s online trip planner, electronic bus information displays and third-party app-based services may not immediately reflect the schedule changes taken by the Pandemic Task Force. Metro is not adjusting fares, despite service reductions.
“We want everyone to follow the guidance of state and local leaders. Stay home. Travel only if it’s essential and limit your exposure to others,” Impastato said. “The health and well-being of our employees and riders is paramount, and our team will continue to work around the clock to prioritize public health and safety in Metro’s response to this unprecedented emergency.”
Metro has already taken the following steps to protect the health and safety of its frontline employees:
- Increased Metro’s on-hand warehouse inventory of essential supplies, such as hospital-grade disinfectant, wipes, face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and other items used by Metro’s frontline employees.
- Allowing Station Managers to remain in kiosks at all times to minimize their public exposure. Access to kiosks—even among Metro employees—has been further restricted.
- Closed all public restroom access systemwide.
- Giving Bus Operators discretion to bypass bus stops if their vehicle is too crowded to maintain safe social distancing.
- Directed train operators to remain in operating cabs except in an emergency.
- All Metrobuses are equipped with protective safety shields for operators and are to remain closed.
- Implemented mandatory telework for most job functions.
- Banned visitors and non-essential access to buildings and worksites.
Metro announces additional COVID-19 changes, including reduced service beginning Monday
Metro and its Pandemic Task Force continue to work around the clock to support the region and slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Today, Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld directed his team to implement several new measures to strike an appropriate balance for Metro’s workforce and their families, our customers, and the region as a whole.
As of 2 p.m., Friday, March 13, Metro has further escalated its response to Phase 3 of its Pandemic Flu Plan. Phase 3 is the highest level of response and will include all subsequent mitigation steps required during the public health emergency. Metro expects to be at Phase 3 until further notice. Phase 4 is the “recovery phase” of the plan that involves Metro’s return to normal operations after the situation is under control.
Consistent with action taken by regional jurisdictions, Metro is implementing mandatory telework for administrative employees, combined with remote work assignments for selected employees whose job functions are not essential to operate trains and buses. This action is taken to maximize social distancing, a required mitigation to slow the spread of the disease. Members of Metro’s Pandemic Task Force are equipped with the latest technology tools to allow for full collaboration over secure video conferencing platforms.
To help protect employees and customers, and recognizing that many of Metro’s frontline employees are faced with tough choices as they balance work with their family priorities, including caring for children who are home from area schools, Metro is reducing service beginning Monday, as follows:
- Monday-Friday: Trains will operate every 12 minutes on each line throughout the day. The rail system will maintain normal hours, opening at 5 a.m.
- Saturday: Trains will operate every 12 minutes on each line, with service from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. (normal Saturday service).
- Sunday: Trains will operate every 15 minutes on each line, with service from 8 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. (normal Sunday service).
- On weekdays, bus service will operate on a Saturday supplemental schedule. Weekend bus schedules are unchanged.
IF YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL, DO NOT TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Call your healthcare provider before you leave your home and follow their guidance.
The service reduction also allows for additional disinfecting of railcars and buses, including the use of electrostatic fogging on a weekly basis across Metro’s fleet of 1,200 railcars and 1,500 buses. The electrostatic process addresses inaccessible surfaces in the vehicle, such as air ducts and compartments.
Due to the service adjustment, please note that Metro’s Rush Hour Promise has been suspended until further notice (i.e. until regular service levels are restored).
MetroAccess service will continue to operate during the same hours as rail and bus services. Metro continues to emphasize that customers must not use MetroAccess to travel to healthcare appointments if they are showing signs of illness for the safety of our employees and other passengers. If you are ill, call your healthcare provider and make transportation arrangements that do not involve public transportation. In addition, the MetroAccess Eligibility Center is closed until further notice.
Further, Metro’s Pandemic Task Force is taking unprecedented steps to protect the health of our most essential employees who work in the Rail Operations Control Center, including a ban on visitors and non-essential personnel, and creating physical separation between ROCC employee teams who will now run the rail system from two different locations to mitigate risk. Operation of the rail system will alternate between two control centers, allowing downtime for disinfecting keyboards, headsets, microphones, screens and other critical equipment in the control center.
Visitors are not permitted at Metro Headquarters (Jackson Graham Building) or any other administrative site, and public meetings at Metro HQ have been suspended, including the Riders' Advisory Council and the Accessibility Advisory Committee. Metro’s Board of Directors will announce plans for upcoming meetings in the coming days, with an emphasis on public health and welfare.
Metro will continue to be guided by the advice of public health authorities and its Pandemic Flu Plan, which was activated 44 days ago at the first signs of a potential pandemic. The early activation allowed Metro to convene its Pandemic Task Force and take immediate action to stockpile critical items, such as hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, and hospital-grade disinfectant. The Task Force is led by Metro’s Chief Safety Officer, with support from Metro’s Chief Medical Officer and key senior officials from across the Authority.
Theresa Impastato's second briefing to the WMATA Board of Directors on COVID-19
Important update regarding MetroAccess service
Metro was advised by health officials that a person with COVID-19 traveled recently to an event at a facility in Rockville, MD. While there is no evidence that anyone who has been exposed to the virus traveled to that event by MetroAccess (or via other public transit), the facility is routinely serviced by MetroAccess. Out of an abundance of caution, extra cleaning of MetroAccess vehicles has been performed and daily cleanings will continue. We wil provide updates for our employees and customers as additional information becomes available.
As of March 6, 2020, Metro is operating at Phase 2 of its Pandemic Flu Plan (PFP), in light of the confirmation of three cases of COVID-19 in Maryland. Phase 2 continues to ensure that Metro is able to respond effectively in the event of a regional outbreak of the disease through community transmission.
At this time, there is no evidence of person-to-person (community) transmission in our area. The steps Metro is taking are with the goal of ensuring that we are able to respond quickly and effectively in the event the situation changes.
The most effective way to prevent the spread of disease are things you do yourself. We strongly encourage everyone to follow these recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you're experiencing symptoms and have traveled to areas of concern (or have been in contact with someone who has), call ahead to your health-care provider before you go in in person. Arrange for special transportation to and from your medical appointment. Do not use public transportation.
Metro activated its Pandemic Flu Plan (PFP) on January 29, based on early reports of a novel (new) coronavirus that had the potential to reach pandemic status. The plan has four phases, with the initial phase (phase one) focused on monitoring and preparedness and the current phase (phase two) putting Metro on a readiness footing to respond quickly in the event of an outbreak in our region. We are following the PFP’s guidance to ensure that Metro is prepared, including activation of Pandemic Task Force, an agency-wide team of senior-level officials from key departments at Metro.
Chaired by Metro’s Chief Safety Officer and supported by our in-house medical staff, the task force meets regularly to manage Metro’s response to COVID-19 and quickly take any action necessary. To date, Metro has taken the following steps:
- Set up direct lines of communication with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), local and state public health authorities, and other transit systems.
- Increased Metro’s on-hand warehouse inventory of essential supplies, such as hospital-grade disinfectant, wipes, face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and other items used by Metro’s front-line employees.
- Established daily absenteeism monitoring across our workforce to quickly detect any significant change in employees illness patterns.
- Reviewed cleaning protocols and modifications where deemed effective and appropriate, based on medical guidance.
- Initiated regular communication with our workforce to keep employees informed about the disease, our response, and guidance to prevent the spread of illness.
- Suspended all non-essential business travel for Metro employees.
- Provided briefings to employees and key stakeholders, as well as a public briefing on Thursday, February 27, 2020.
Metro will continue to monitor COVID-19-related developments and take appropriate action in consultation with public health authorities.