‘It will get better’: Head of Metro weighs in on first days of shutdown

Metro’s general manager believes a monthslong shutdown of six Blue and Yellow Line stations south of Reagan National Airport will get easier on impacted riders as both customers and the transit system make adjustments.

“It will get better,” said General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, making predictions based on how issues related to “SafeTrack” played out. “It takes a while for people to find the right mix for them.”

Wiedefeld also noted the Metro command center and supervisors on the street are monitoring the traffic system and shuttle bus movements, and making adjustments as needed.

“It is something that’s done by the minute as things evolve,” Wiedefeld said.

Full WTOP track work guide: Summer 2019 Blue and Yellow Line shutdown

During the first three work days of the station closures, some customers faced incidents of watching full shuttle buses drive past their stops, shuttle drivers getting lost, or shuttles not utilizing the HOV lanes on Interstate 395.

Weidefeld said those examples aren’t training issues but, instead, may reflect “of the moment” situations, such as the wreck that clogged up the I-395 HOV lanes, Thursday’s torrential downpour or perhaps traffic not allowing for safe merges.

If you have flexibility, Wiedefeld recommends adjusting your schedule a bit to avoid peak travel times.

“Please take advantage of that. Your ride is going to be much easier and much quicker,” he said.

Asked how he believes Metro is doing accommodating impacted passengers, Wiedefeld said, “Fair — considering what we’re up against. You’re not going to replace (capacity of) a major rail line.”

And, Wiedefeld added, thousands upon thousands of people are being moved on the shuttle buses.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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