Metro to close 17 more stations, several entrances amid coronavirus rider drop

FILE: A sign outside the Friendship Heights Metro station, part of Washington, D.C.’s Red Line, is seen amid rain. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)

Metro is closing more than a dozen stations for an indefinite period beginning Thursday morning.

Trains will pass through the stations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia without stopping, but trains will serve the stations that are open. For now, trains will continue to be scheduled every 15 to 20 minutes on weekdays.

The station closures are meant to limit Metro’s staffing and cleaning requirements amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Though the closures could preserve supplies and extend staffing, ridership declines are putting significant pressure on Metro’s budget given the loss of fare revenue. Transit systems across the region are asking Congress for millions of dollars in emergency operating assistance.

The other stations closing Thursday are:

  • Federal Center SW
  • Federal Triangle
  • Mt. Vernon Square
  • Greensboro
  • Eisenhower Avenue
  • Virginia Square
  • Judiciary Square
  • Archives
  • Cleveland Park

And closed for low ridership:

  • Grosvenor-Strathmore
  • Cheverly
  • Clarendon
  • East Falls Church
  • College Park
  • McLean
  • Morgan Boulevard
  • Van Dorn Street

Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations were already closed to riders.

Other stations will have one of their entrances closed, so Metro does not need to clean the escalators and an extra station manager is not needed.

Those entrances that are closing are:

  • Anacostia parking garage
  • Farragut North L Street
  • Dupont Circle south
  • Metro Center 12th & F
  • Reagan National Airport north end
  • U Street Vermont Avenue end
  • Gallery Place 9th & G
  • L’Enfant Plaza 7th & D
  • Friendship Heights Jenifer Street

Other entrances at those stations will remain open. See a map of the stations below.

2019 System Map COVID-19 St… by wtopweb on Scribd

Metro said some of its cleaning supplies have come in, but its largest shipment has yet to arrive.

Due to telework, business closings and social distancing, weekday rail ridership is down nearly 90% across the system.

The biggest drops have been at stations in wealthier areas, since riders there are more likely to have other options and to be able to telework.

The smallest drops – which are still down 60% to 70% from normal – are in lower-income areas, where riders are less likely to have jobs that allow them to work from home and less likely to have a car.

Bus ridership shows similar trends, down significantly, but not as much as rail ridership.
Metrobuses are on a Sunday supplemental schedule this week, with major cutbacks planned for weekend service.

Metrobus, Fairfax Connector and Arlington’s ART buses are the latest to allow free rides on all buses so that riders can board through the back door to reduce interactions with drivers.

PRTC OmniRide is also offering free rides on local and Metro Express Service, which continue to run normal schedules.

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