LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: WMATA’s SafeTrack Plan

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**UPDATE: Read Neil Albert’s Washington Post Letter to the Editor “During its maintenance push, Metro needs to augment late-night bus service.”

Dear DowntownDC Stakeholder:

Today, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) General Manager Paul Wiedefeld released a draft accelerated maintenance and safety plan, SafeTrack, for the Metrorail system. The program, which is proposed to begin this June, is designed to compress three years worth of Metro maintenance and repairs into one year to fix Metro and return the system to a state of good repair with safer and more reliable service. 

[Review the draft plan online in its entirety here.]
 
Below, you will find highlights of this draft plan:

WMATA Draft SafeTrack Maintenance Plan
 
1. Additional resources would be devoted to track maintenance throughout the system during the repairs. To create more ‘track time’ during which maintenance can be performed, Metro service would be curtailed during the one-year program in the following ways: 

  • Late night Metrorail service will be eliminated. Metro will close at midnight daily, ending late-night weekend service. 
  • Track work will begin earlier with segments beginning single-tracking or closing early at 8 pm. 
  • No additional service for special events will be provided: for example, the Metro will not open early for the Marine Corps Marathon and will not close late to accommodate Verizon Center events. 

2. “Safety Surges” in specific track areas will result in closures and single-tracking events for long periods of time. These surges will occur at 15 locations across the system and would last 7-42 days. The surges are designed to maximize productivity: for example, ten weekends of regular track work could be accomplished in a 21-day “safety surge.” 
 
3. The proposed plan includes independent verification of work progress, quality control and Metro management accountability. 

Additional work is required in the weeks leading to up to the launch of this maintenance program in June, including securing additional bus transit service to supplement reduced Metrorail service. Stakeholders, including local agencies, will need to strategize about how to best manage transportation demand for displaced Metro customers and a robust communications component will be critical to daily life in the region. 

The DowntownDC BID will keep you updated on further developments.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Neil Albert
Executive Director, DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID)