Metro addresses crowding concerns ahead of service ramp-up

As Metro service gets ready to ramp up next month, there are concerns about potential crowding in the rail system, as well as current crowding on buses.

“As you all have read in our report, we do have continued concerns about social distancing on Metrobus at the present time and also as Metrobus scales up in August,” said Andrew Kierig, chair of Metro’s Riders Advisory Council, in remarks during the agency’s July board of directors meeting.

“One of the things we’re hearing a lot of concern about is crowding, whether that’s on buses, or on rail platforms, potentially, down the road,” said board member and Loudoun County Supervisor Matt Letourneau.

Metro staff told board members that 21 bus lines were getting additional buses Thursday to address crowding ahead of the August ramp-up in service. They also said Metro will be able to add extra trains to clear crowded platforms, and that riders can expect increased signage about keeping proper social distance next month.

Additionally, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced plans to give out 500,000 masks to riders who might need them. The masks were donated by the Federal Transit Administration.

Earlier this week, Metro announced that rail service will expand beginning Aug. 16 and bus service will expand beginning Aug. 23, with both returning to nearly pre-pandemic levels.

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