Coronavirus response: Metro and other transit changes in DC, Md. and Va.

Some transit services in D.C., Maryland and Virginia are making significant changes to their schedules and have stepped up cleaning efforts in response to the new coronavirus.

Major Metro service cuts

Metro will reduce service for the upcoming week, March 30 – April 5, as ridership declines 92% compared to this point last year.

Trains will now run every 15 minutes on the Red Line and every 20 minutes on all other lines. Weekday hours are still 5 a.m. – 11 p.m.

On March 26, Metro decided to close more than a dozen stations for an indefinite period . The Smithsonian and Arlington National cemetery stations were already closed the previous week.

Trains will pass through the stations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia without stopping, but trains will serve the stations that are open. Find out which stations are closed.

Metro also made some service changes in its weekend service. Trains will now operate every 30 minutes on all lines, and the hours remain 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, March 29, Metro will operate a core network of 26 “lifeline” bus routes, as well as having twice-hourly rail service for essential travel needs. Find out which buses routes are running.

Metro is making the changes due to staffing shortages amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In addition, Metro said it is running all eight-car trains — the maximum possible length — “to help maintain social distancing between customers.”

Metrobuses are running on a Sunday schedule with no supplemental routes. Bus drivers will have the authority to bypass bus stops to “maintain safe social distancing aboard buses,” Metro said.

MetroBuses are also taking additional action to enhance safety for its drivers by implementing rear-door boarding across the entire system.

Bus riders are asked to enter and exit the bus using the rear door at all times, except anyone needing the ADA boarding ramp, or anyone requesting the bus to “kneel” to ease their boarding.

Metro is waiving fare payment for Metrobus customers at this time.

Metro’s pandemic task force has urged the public to not take Metro to get to the cherry blossoms in order to keep Metro’s limited capacity available for essential travel, which it cited as travel by doctors, nurses, essential government personnel and others.

“Metro reserves the right to close stations near the Tidal Basin at any time to reduce the use of Metro for tourist trips,” the transit agency said in a statement.


More Coronavirus News


Other train service

  • Virginia Railway Express: Starting March 17, VRE is cutting back to an S schedule indefinitely due to the coronavirus-related drop in ridership.
  • Maryland MARC: MARC trains are operating on an “R” schedule starting March 17. MaRC encourages riders to only use the service for essential trips, such as trips to work, to the doctor and to the grocery store, among others. Only trains with an “R” under the train number will operate, with the following additional service:
    • Penn Line: Train 403 (4:45 a.m. departure from Penn Station) will operate. Train 502 (6:10 a.m. departure from Washington) will operate and will make all stops. Train 453 (9:37 p.m. departure from Penn Station) will operate. Train 452 (10:55 p.m. departure from Washington) will operate.
    • Brunswick Line: Train 872 (5 a.m. departure from Martinsburg) will operate and will make all stops, except Monocacy and Frederick. Train 875 (4:25 p.m. departure from Washington) will continue west of Brunswick to Harpers Ferry, Duffields and Martinsburg. Train 877 (4:55 p.m. departure from Washington) will operate.
    • In addition, ticket offices at Odenton and Frederick will be closed until further notice, but the waiting room and ticket machine will be accessible at Odenton. Ticket counter sales at Baltimore Penn, BWI, New Carrollton and Washington Union Stations can no longer accept cash. You can use the MARC machines to buy tickets or buy mobile tickets.
  • Amtrak: Northeast Corridor services are operating at about 40% of their typical weekday schedule. Northeast Regional and Acela lines will still operate between Boston, New York, and D.C., but with some reductions in frequencies for certain markets. Nonstop Acela service between D.C. and New York is canceled through late May.

Bus

  • DC Circulator: Late-night service has been temporarily suspended through the end of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s declared public emergency in effect through April 24. Service is suspended on the National Mall Route. The District Department of Transportation is also suspending fares on all Circulator routes and giving riders the option of getting on the bus through the rear door to encourage social distancing.
  • MTA Maryland Commuter Bus: Operating on an “S” schedule only. For Metro Subway in Baltimore, Light Rail will operate on a Saturday schedule on weekdays. The entrance to the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center from Johns Hopkins station is closed until further notice. See all MTA transit changes here.
  • A number of commuter bus routes will be suspended indefinitely starting Monday, April 6. Generally, they serve long-distance commutes such as BWI to Gaithersburg, Kent Island to Washington, D.C., Columbia to Bethesda and more. The full list is available here.
  • MTA Express BusLink Service: Starting April, the MTA is temporarily discontinuing 11 routes that recently experienced an average of 82% decline in ridership. These routes include all nine peak-hour Express BusLink routes and LocalLinks 38 and 92, which primarily serve schools that are now closed.
  • Ride On and Ride On extra: Beginning March 30, Ride On bus service will be reduced to an Essential Service Plan. Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation expects buses will be delayed and encourages users to check the status of their usual buses before leaving for their bus stop. Ride On follows a new reduced service plan that maintains coverage of Ride On routes so that residents can access food, essential services and essential jobs. Passengers are now required to board at the rear door of the bus. Passengers can board through the front doors if a lift is needed to accommodate a disability or stroller. During the emergency, all Ride On services will be temporarily free to all passengers. Flex service is suspended.
  • The Bus: The Prince George’s County system will suspend routes 11, 12, 14, 15x, 21x, 22, 23, 25, 27, 34, 35s, 51 and 53 while running reduced service on 16, 17, 18, 20, 21 and 32. The routes still running will be free. Riders will only be allowed to enter using the rear doors, to limit contact with the driver. However, exceptions will be made for people with disabilities or those with strollers.
  • DASH: Effective March 30, buses will operate on an enhanced Sunday schedule during weekdays and Saturdays and will suspend its King Street Trolley. AT-2X and AT-6 will both suspend service as well, with AT-2 being the alternative for AT-2X and AT-5 and AT-9 being the alternate for AT-6. Routes AT-7 and AT-8 will shuttle metro riders who typically use either the Van Dorn or Eisenhower stations, which are both currently closed, to the still-open King Street station. Dash is still eliminating fares on all buses until further notice and is switch to rear-door boarding.
  • ART: Operating on a reduced schedule. ART 41, 42, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87 are running on a Saturday schedule. ART 42 and 87 will end at the Pentagon instead of Pentagon City, ART 45 will start an hour early at 6:30 a.m. and ART 43 will run every 20 minutes from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. along its weekday route. All other routes are suspended. STAR service is running as normal.
  • PRTC OmniRide: Local and Metro Express services will be free to limit interactions between the driver, fare box and riders. OmniRide Express services will still have fares, but there will not be a cash option or the option to reload a SmarTrip with cash on a bus. The main lobby of the OmniRide Transit Center is also closed.
  • FRED Transit‘s VRE Feeder Bus Service to operate on an “S” schedule. VQ1 and D6 will not operate.

DMV and MVA

Maryland

On Friday, March 20, at 4:30 p.m., all the MDOT MVA locations closed indefinitely. All appointments after that date were canceled and all driver’s licenses are extended for 30 days after the lifting of Maryland’s state of emergency. Some services, however, can still be completed online.

Virginia

All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles offices are closed to the public. The DMV typically serves about 25,000 people a day, but about 75% of transactions can be done online.

E-ZPass Virginia walk-in service centers will be closed through April 1.

Road changes

Maryland

The Maryland Transportation Authority moved to all-cashless tolling statewide to limit interaction between the public and toll collectors. In the lanes normally set aside for cash payment, there will be video tolling. Drivers who usually pay with cash will instead be mailed notices.

D.C.

D.C. is changing reversible road rules to keep Connecticut Avenue and 16th Street Northwest in weekend mode at all times. Independence Avenue will still run with weekday lane reversals though.

One-way rush hour reversals are still taking place on Rock Creek Parkway, Canal Road and Clara Barton Parkway.

As part of these changes, the District is not going to enforce rush hour parking restrictions until further notice.

Virginia

In Virginia, it’s business as usual when it comes to construction work, maintenance, HOV rules and lane closures. Virginia rest areas remain open — with extra disinfecting.

The Dulles Greenway will have no cash toll collection effective Thursday, April 2nd. Motorists traveling on the road must pay with a credit card or EZ-Pass transponder.

Parking

Parking meter rules do still apply in D.C.

D.C. and Alexandria have already halted street sweeping.

Alexandria is also waiving time restrictions for the general public in all residential parking zones as well as the rule requiring cars parked on the street to be moved every 72 hours.

Alexandria will also waive the requirements to display a valid state inspection sticker.

Weekend time restrictions and meter fees on blocks with pay stations have been suspended on weekends in Alexandria, but weekday fees and restrictions remain.

Several localities are expanding loading zones to handle increases in pickups, takeout orders and deliveries.

Montgomery county, Maryland said drivers are encouraged to follow normal rules when parking during coronavirus closures. Restricted area parking violations, disabled parking and safety-related violations will be strictly enforced.

However, parking meter enforcement has been relaxed in areas where businesses remain open for quick pickups. This includes restaurants, pharmacies and grocery stores.

Enforcement has been suspended in residential permit zones with non-metered, on-street parking.

Free temporary parking will be available at the Bonifant/Dixon Garage in Silver Spring and the Auburn/Del Ray Garage in Bethesda, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation said.

WTOP’s Max Smith contributed to this report.

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coronavirus, COVID-19
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Michaella Pratt and her children Preston Pratt, 6, Aubrey Pratt, 4, from Arlington, Va., use their time with school closing because of the coronavirus outbreak, to visit the near-empty Tidal Basin in Washington, Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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Erin Carroll, Clay Colehouse, Jessica Goblin, Travis Victorio, Mary Fitzell
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Maryland free student meals
Anne Arundel County residents receive free breakfast, lunch and dinner, at a mobile stop in Annapolis, Monday, March 16, 2020. Anne Arundel County is providing free meals for students while schools are closed for two weeks due to coronavirus concerns. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan closed all public schools in the state from March 16 to March 27. (AP/Susan Walsh)
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A video display with a message from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reads “Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands” on the Gallery Place Metro subway train platform in Washington, Friday, March 13, 2020, to inform commuters on how to combat the coronavirus outbreak. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
There are no visitors touring the Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 13, 2020, which has been closed to tourists because of the coronavirus. (AP/Susan Walsh)
Carroll Rodgers of Washington, cleans steps in the Capitol Visitor Center on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 13, 2020. Because the Capitol Visitor Center is closed, employees are able to do their regular cleaning later in the day instead of only in the very early hours of the days before tourists come through. (AP/Susan Walsh)
The Capitol Visitor Center is empty early Friday, March 13, 2020, in Washington, after the Capitol was shut down to tourists. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Peru’s Alianza Lima and Argentina’s Racing Club play a Copa Libertadores soccer match at the Presidente Peron stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The match was played in an empty, closed door stadium as part of the government’s measures to contain transmission of the new coronavirus. For most people the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness including pneumonia. (AP/Gustavo Garello)
Pakistani cricket teams practice in an empty National Stadium, ahead of their match in the Pakistan Super League in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, March 13, 2020. The Pakistan Cricket Board decides the Pakistan Super League will go ahead despite the coronavirus outbreak and the withdrawal Friday of 10 foreign players. The vast majority of people recover from the new coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness. (AP/Fareed Khan)
A man walks near the entrance of the Louvre Museum, in Paris, Friday, March 13, 2020. The Louvre Museum in Paris and the Versailles Palace both said that they are closing “until further notice” amid the French government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP/Thibault Camus)
A gloved grocery shopper is dismayed over empty shelves at a local Ralphs supermarket in an attempt to stock up on supplies, Friday, March 13, 2020, in the Panorama City section of Los Angeles. (AP/Richard Vogel)
A waiter waits for customers in central Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, March 13, 2020. (AP/Manu Fernandez)
A bus conductor disinfects the hands of a passenger, after the government directed all operators of “matatus”, or public minibuses, to provide hand sanitizer to their clients, on a busy street in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Friday, March 13, 2020. Authorities in Kenya said Friday that a Kenyan woman who recently traveled from the United States via London has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the first case in the East African country. (AP/Patrick Ngugi)
A woman looks at an empty bread aisle at a supermarket in Antwerp, Belgium, Friday, March 13, 2020. (AP/Virginia Mayo)
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Students sanitize hands to avoid the contact of coronavirus before their morning class at a high school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (AP/Heng Sinith)
People wear masks at a shopping district in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. Panic and pollution drive the market for protective face masks, so business is booming in Asia, where fear of the coronavirus from China is straining supplies and helping make mask-wearing the new normal. (AP/Ahn Young-joon)
Hospital staff wash the emergency entrance of Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP/Dake Kang)
Children wearing face masks pose for photos at a display for the upcoming Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rat, at the Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP/Mark Schiefelbein)
Workers wearing protective clothing disinfect the main hall of the Parliament, in Ankara Turkey, Friday, March 13, 2020, as a precaution against the coronavirus. (AP/Burhan Ozbilici)
A woman walks through Chinatown along quiet Grant Avenue, Friday, March 13, 2020, in San Francisco. A wave of closures and postponements spanning everything from government offices to cultural events and sports followed California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call this week for cancellation of all non-essential gatherings of 250 people or more because of the coronavirus threat. (AP/Eric Risberg)
A general view of Mayor square in central Madrid, Spain, Friday, March 13, 2020. Exhibitions, conferences, sports centers and museums are closing in Madrid, including the Spanish capital’s Prado Museum for the first time in eight decades. (AP/Manu Fernandez)
A student, wearing a homemade protective mask as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus, lines up for class in Havana, Cuba, Friday, March 13, 2020. (AP/Ramon Espinosa)
A man walks through the empty hall of Terminal II at the airport in Munich, Germany, Friday, March 13, 2020. Due to the Coronavirus a large number of flights have to be cancelled. (AP/Matthias Schrader)
A private security man walks at one of the biggest malls in Lebanon which has closed its shops in an effort to spread the coronavirus outbreak in the country, at Hazmiyeh area east of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, March 13, 2020. (AP/Hussein Malla)
A woman passes the empty and closed Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Friday, March 13, 2020, a closure in line with the national policy relating to the coronavirus. (AP/Peter Dejong)
People wear face masks as they shop at a market in Beijing, Saturday, March 14, 2020. (AP/Mark Schiefelbein)
A woman shops among empty shelves at a Hy-Vee food store Friday, March 13, 2020, in Overland Park, Kan. (AP/Charlie Riedel)
A sign at a strip club advertises “coronavirus-free lap dances” Friday, March 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP/John Locher)
Shoppers browse barren shelves at a supermarket, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Larchmont, N.Y. (AP/John Minchillo)
Several airlines with canceled flights are shown on a departures board at JFK airport’s Terminal 1, Friday, March 13, 2020, in New York. (AP/Kathy Willens)
Zhili Sun, practices tai chi under a blooming cherry tree while wearing a mask, Sunday, March 15, 2020, along the tidal basin in Washington. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
Souvenir vendor Julio Saavedra wears rubber gloves and a face mask as he works adjacent to the Charging Bull statue, in New York, Sunday, March 15, 2020. (AP/Richard Drew)
A voter wearing a mask to protect from the new coronavirus casts a vote at a voting center in the French-Italian border city of Menton, southern France, Sunday, March 15, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. France pressed ahead with plans for nationwide municipal elections on Sunday but ordered special measures to keep people at a safe distance and to sanitize surfaces. (AP/Daniel Cole)
Two women wear face masks as they walk along a main street in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that schools, universities, restaurants and places of entertainment will be closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. He also encouraged people not to go to their workplaces unless absolutely necessary. (AP/Oded Balilty)
People wear protective masks and gloves while voting in the municipal elections held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Municipal elections took place on Feb. 16 but were cancelled midway and reprogrammed for Sunday due to a technical glitch. (AP/Tatiana Fernandez)
A woman wearing a face mask shops at a store in Bamland shopping mall, in Western Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Many people in Tehran shrugged off warnings over the new coronavirus as authorities complained that most people in the capital are not treating the crisis seriously enough. (AP/Vahid Salemi)
A woman covers her face with a Brazilian flag during rally supporting Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Thousands took to the streets on Sunday to demonstrate in favor of Bolsonaro, challenging in some states the ban on agglomerations due to coronavirus and ignoring his suggestion to postpone the acts. (AP/Silvia Izquierdo)
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People wearing face-masks line up to buy supplies from a shop during the coronavirus outbreak in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, April 4, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
coronavirus, COVID-19
Customers keep distances between each other to avoid a infection with the coronavirus as they visit the market on the cathedral square in Mainz, Germany, April 4, 2020.  For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
In this March 16, 2020 file photo, a woman walks through a lightly trafficked Times Square in New York, March 16, 2020. As of Sunday, nearly 2,000 people with the virus have been hospitalized in the state of New York and 114 have died, officials said. More than 15,000 have tested positive statewide, including 9,000 in New York City. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Coffins with the bodies of victims of coronavirus are stored waiting for burial or cremation at the Collserola morgue in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, April 2, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A man wearing a face mask and gloves to protect against the new coronavirus carries his shopping as he walks past closed shops at the Tajrish traditional bazaar in northern Tehran, Iran, Saturday, April 4, 2020. In the first working day after Iranian New Year holidays authorities have allowed some government offices and businesses to re-open with limited working hours, when schools, universities, and many businesses still are ordered to be closed aimed to prevent the spread of the virus.  (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
People from an apartment complex board an ambulance to be taken to a hospital for quarantine after a contact was found to be COVID-19 positive, in Gauhati, India, Saturday, April 4, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
A giant television over the A57 Motorway screen urges people to stay home on March 26, 2020 in Manchester, England. British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced strict lockdown measures urging people to stay at home and only leave the house for basic food shopping, exercise once a day and essential travel to and from work.
The Ministry of antiquities lights up the pyramids in an expression of support for health workers battling the coronavirus outbreak, Monday, March 30, 2020, in Giza, Egypt. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Subway riders wear protective masks and gloves on a sparsely populated car during morning hours due to COVID-19 concerns that are driving down ridership, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in New York. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tightened work-from-home rules Thursday as confirmed cases continued to climb in New York, an expected jump as testing becomes more widespread. But he stressed that roadblocks and martial law for New York City were merely rumors.
A couple walks along a usually busy Fremont Street after casinos were ordered to shut down due to the coronavirus  outbreak, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Las Vegas.
A woman rests on the balcony of a building as people stay in their houses to prevent the spread of coronavirus,, in Vitoria, northern Spain, Thursday, March 19, 2020. Spain will mobilize 200 billion euros or the equivalent to one fifth of the country's annual output in loans, credit guarantees and subsidies for workers and vulnerable citizens, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Tuesday. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems.
A masked couple walks on the empty Trocadero next to the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron said that starting on Tuesday, people would be allowed to leave the place they live only for necessary activities such as shopping for food, going to work or taking a walk. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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