Board chair: Metro will be ready if workers return to offices this spring

If D.C.-area workers begin to return to their offices this spring, Metro board chairman Paul Smedberg said Metro will be able to accommodate them.

“Staff feel they will be able to, and that’s why we’re actually obviously trying to work through the 7000 series issues [as] quickly and properly as possible,” Smedberg said during a media briefing Thursday afternoon.

“It looks like it’s going to be more of a gradual return to work as opposed to everyone coming back on the same day. So that’s, I think, what we’re anticipating at this point, as best we can tell,” he added.

All of Metro’s 7000 series rail cars — which make up more than half the fleet — have been out of service since October after an investigation into a derailment uncovered problems with the car’s wheels.

Metro has said that the earliest the 7000 series cars will return to the tracks is April.

Metro’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year that starts in July, includes lowering some fares.

Asked if additional fare cuts might be considered, Smedberg said everything will be on the table.

“We haven’t eliminated anything yet. I’m sure fare policies will be discussed because we want to get ridership back. When people do come back to work, it’s important that we get them on transit and not back on the roads, Smedberg said.

The public comment period for the proposed budget opened earlier this week, and public hearings are planned Feb. 7, 8 and 9. You can choose to take part by phone, via video or in person.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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