Metrobus cuts restored, no update on troubled railcars

The end is in sight for omicron-related Metrobus service cuts.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced Thursday that Metrobus will return to regular weekday service on Monday, Feb. 7.

“The recent omicron surge had significantly impacted the Metro workforce, particularly our bus operators and our maintenance workers,” Wiedefeld told the Metro Board of Directors. He said that since the holidays, about 10% of the workforce, or 1,500 employees, have missed work because of COVID-19.

“While we are still experiencing above-average absenteeism, we’ve seen the case rate decline and employees are returning to work following their quarantine requirements,” he said.

Metrobus has been operating on a modified Saturday schedule since Jan. 10. That schedule offered about 75% of normal weekday service, Metro said.

Wiedefeld did not offer much of an update on the agency’s sidelined 7000-series railcars. He referenced the announcement earlier this month that Metro will not resume the placement of 7000-series trains into passenger service for about 90 days, in order to perform a “root cause analysis” of railcar wheelset problems.

“Again, we’re at the very start of that 90-day pause, and we’ll continue to work very hard to get to the root cause as quickly as we can, and return to service as quickly as we can,” Wiedefeld said.

Also Thursday, the Metro board approved changing the name of the Largo Town Center station to Downtown Largo. The name change will take effect when new station signage and maps are rolled out for the opening of phase two of the Silver Line. The $332,000 cost of the name change is being covered by Prince George’s County, Maryland.

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John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, PA, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP sports.

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