WMATA announced Tuesday that Metrorail lines will now only run every 15 minutes, while Metrobus will be on a Sunday schedule for most routes.
The transit agency had previously reduced its service in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but said Tuesday that riders should only use the system “when absolutely necessary.” This is so that riders who must use Metro during this time — such as hospital staff, government officials and emergency responders — can safely use the system, according to WMATA.
Fewer riders will also help maintain social distancing in trains and buses, protect employees and allow for further cleaning of trains and buses, WMATA said.
The changes go into effect on Wednesday.
“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,” Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a press release. “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.”
Platforms will be monitored to ensure that crowding does not become an issue — something WMATA said hasn’t been a problem since reduced service went into effect.
“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,” the press release said.
In addition to fewer trips, Metrorail will also have shortened hours:
Weekdays: 5 a.m.-11 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 8 a.m.-11 p.m.
While most bus routes will now be on a Sunday schedule, there will be supplemental service for a few routes (view here). Buses will also be allowed to bypass stops in order to maintain proper social distancing in the vehicle.
WMATA said that ridership was down 70 percent across the system on Monday.