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Area businesses, localities prepare for Metro maintenance plan

A bicyclist moves past cars stuck in traffic along Florida Avenue in the Shaw neighborhood, in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of local business leaders gathered Monday for a briefing to help them prepare for potential Metro track work disruptions.

“By a show of hands, how many had people on your team show up late for work today,” said Greater Washington Board of Trade President Jim Dinegar.

When about 20 people in the room raised their hands, Dinegar warned that Metrorail maintenance disruptions expected to occur on different portions of rail lines over the next year only promise to get worse.

The event was co-sponsored by The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in partnership with the Washington Business Journal and Witt O’Brien’s — an emergency preparedness advisory group.

In addition to giving business leaders guidance to help them assist employees respond to Metro’s track work plan with the fewest disruptions, there was a briefing from local officials on various transportation plans.

Universal themes included beefing up bus routes, offering free shuttle service, aggressively promoting telework, flexible work schedules, ride-sharing and carpooling.

Both Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have asked the Maryland Department of Transportation for additional MARC commuter rail service and been told it will be coming during rush hours with service possibly being added during the middle of the day, as well.

The Virginia Railway Express said trains serving riders later in the mornings and afternoons have about 30 percent free capacity to accommodate additional riders. Earlier trains tend to be full.

Dinegar also suggested businesses subsidize employee alternatives that might include Lyft, Uber pool or bike-share.

“It’s not only worth the investment, it may pay dividends far beyond what you’re thinking it could with that appreciation from the employees,” Dinegar said.

Most area jurisdictions specifically detail their response plans to Metro’s track work online:

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