Metrobus halts service on all but 20 routes for the weekend

Metro announced Saturday afternoon it would shut down bus service for the weekend on all but 20 lines.

The bus system, which normally operates 325 routes and completes 400,000 trips per day, said the shutdown will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday, making the announcement just hours before closings would take effect.

The changes would amount to cutting the number of routes run by the sixth busiest bus agency in the country by almost 95%, but WMATA says they hope to run more services during the week.

The shutdown seriously expands closures announced by Metro on Friday.

Metro bus drivers are also permitted to bypass stops in order to maintain safe social distancing aboard the bus.

In a statement released Friday, WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld said that, despite Metro bus workers dealing with the same pressures everyone else is due to the coronavirus, “Our workforce is showing up out of a sense of duty to the community and a responsibility to the nation.”

“Space on Metro is a resource that needs to be reserved for essential travel, including the first responders, doctors and nurses working to keep us all safe,” Wiedefeld continued. “They are responding to the call out of concern for you, please stay home out of concern for them.”

The statement added that Metro’s Operations division has reported availability challenges due to operators choosing to decline overtime opportunities to focus on family obligations, absences associated with high-risk groups and scheduling restrictions necessary to support workforce redundancy strategies.

The transit system has suffered an 85% drop in rail ridership year-over-year, prompting the significant changes to its bus and rail schedules.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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