Metro to cut wait times, increase police presence

Good news for some Metro riders: Train frequency is about to pick up a bit on some lines.

Service will increase on the Green and Yellow lines starting Monday, with waits going down to 15 minutes, General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced Thursday. At stations served by both lines, trains will come every seven to eight minutes.

Currently, headways on the Green and Yellow Line trains are every 20 minutes.

Metro said improving service on the Green and Yellow Lines will help ease crowding, especially during peak hours.

Service is improving because older 6000 series railcars are going back into service as Metro continues to face an equipment crunch following last fall’s derailment on the Blue Line. In the wake of the derailment, Metro was ordered to take its entire fleet of newer 7000 series rail cars out of service, which accounted for 60% of Metro’s entire fleet.

Wiedefeld told members of the Metro Board of Directors on Thursday a return-to-service plan for the sidelined 7000 series railcars is “on schedule.”

He told board members last month Metro hopes to gradually phase in those cars this summer by performing manual back-to-back inspections using digital gauges, and that there’s a longer-term plan to install trackside equipment to automatically inspect trains as they pass by.

The derailment was caused by an apparent defect in the 7000 series cars, in which the wheel sets shift too far apart on their axles. The cause of the wheel movement is still unknown.

Under the return-to-service plan, Metro aims to improve service on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines to every 15 minutes by the end of the summer. Currently, trains on those lines run every 20 minutes.

Also on Thursday, Wiedefeld highlighted a plan to increase police patrols at rail stations and along bus corridors where crime has gone up, “both to discourage criminal activity and to reassure riders,” he said.

The increased patrols include uniformed and plainclothes officers, who will work staggered shifts to provide a greater police presence during the evening rush hour.

In addition, Metro will put up new signs in stations, trains and buses with QR codes that, once scanned, will add the Metro Transit Police Department’s phone number to your contacts list.

WTOP’s Jack Moore contributed to this report.

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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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