Metro GM: DC could have a more reliable rail system in the fall

ARLINGTON, Va. — Metro’s general manager isn’t setting a date, but said he believes the D.C. area’s problem-plagued rail system will become more reliable come fall.

“We’re at a stage with the tracks, where basically we are turning that corner, where they are becoming more reliable,” Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld said Thursday at a meeting of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.

Wiedefeld told NVTC members that the conclusion of SafeTrack work will bring about more reliability, but the passage of his proposed budget by the Metro board will also play a big part in making the system run more efficiently.

“Part of what we proposed for the budget is to have a more realistic schedule,” Wiedefeld said.

With a more reliable system, riders could find themselves waiting longer for a train. In the past, for many, rush hour promised trains every six minutes. The new schedule would set the time to every eight minutes.

Also expected to play a role in creating a system with fewer delays is the retirement of unreliable 1000- and 4000-series rail cars and the installation of newer models.

Talk about the light at the end of the tunnel for Metro came days ahead of a big Metro SafeTrack surge, which is expected to cause big delays and crowded platforms on the Blue and Yellow lines.

Wiedefeld said after SafeTrack concludes, he also hopes to see ridership numbers go up in the coming months. But he warned, factors which could work against Metro on that include the government hiring freeze and the cost gas which could make driving a car more appealing.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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