Prince George’s Co. leaders blast late-night Metro cuts

WASHINGTON — A large group of Prince George’s County mayors, town and county council members, and General Assembly leaders are blasting plans for late-night Metro cuts.

“We are aware that WMATA staff and the Federal Transit Administration have identified lack of access to the tracks as one of the bottlenecks contributing to the accumulation of a maintenance backlog,” the county officials wrote in a letter sent to the Metro Board Wednesday. “However, no proposal put before the public has explained why permanently closing every line of the Metrorail system during the pre-SafeTrack late-night hours is necessary on a continuing basis.”

Metro has yet to explain the costs or benefits of the proposed changes, or the differences among the various closure options.

The letter from 50 Prince George’s County leaders called late-night service “an essential foundation and a social justice issue.”

“Our county’s plans and billions of investments in West Hyattsville, Prince George’s Plaza, College Park, Greenbelt, Suitland, and Largo — already committed and in place — will be jeopardized if WMATA moves forward with this proposal,” the letter stated.

“We ask that the WMATA board provide a more transparent study of the equity and ridership impacts of this proposed change as well as consider alternatives to improve maintenance before making a decision. The complete historical trend of late-night ridership on Metrorail, not just the most recent snapshot, must be a part of this analysis,” it continued.

The letter follows similar reaction over the last few months from other Montgomery and Prince George’s County leaders and top officials in the District.

Some Virginia leaders have expressed more flexibility on accepting late-night changes.

The late-night cuts are separate from additional service cuts and fare increases during hours the system is open that Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld is expected to formally propose next week in his operating budget.

The final decision on those additional changes are also ultimately up to the Metro Board. The late-night or other service hours changes are expected to go to a vote in December, while the budget vote could come in March.

 

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