Local transit agencies feel costs of Metro shutdown

WASHINGTON — When Metrorail shut down for emergency safety inspections and repairs Wednesday, other local transit agencies scrambled to offer commuters other options, and some of those agencies were stuck with the bill.

Fairfax Connector, which is run by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, is covering the approximately $10,000 cost incurred when it ran emergency shuttle routes connecting the Franconia-Springfield, Vienna and Wiehle-Reston East Metro stations to the major bus transfer station (and, of course, job center) at the Pentagon.

“We are aware not all of our riders have flexible work schedules, paid leave, telework options, etc., and we wanted to provide connections from key transfer hubs in Fairfax County,” Connector Section Chief Nick Perfilli said in an email.

The D.C. Department of Transportation offered free D.C. Circulator rides, and estimates ridership was up 15 to 20 percent over a normal Wednesday.  Terry Owens, DDOT spokesman, says the agency will cover the costs.

Capital Bikeshare also offered free 24-hour memberships Wednesday, and other transit agencies added some extra cars or buses.

During the shutdown, Metro says it identified and fixed 27 problems with power cables or boots, including the replacement of three cables along the Blue, Orange and Silver line tracks downtown that were so damaged trains should not have been running in those areas.

This week, the Federal Transit Administration is set to launch a new “safety inspection blitz” focused on other concerns.

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