Starting on Monday, weekday Metro trains will arrive every 15 minutes instead of every 20 minutes on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines.
Metro’s General Manager Randy Clarke shared the good news for riders shortly after being sworn in to the role at the agency’s board meeting Thursday.
He said that the service level still isn’t ideal for Metro riders, “but that is a big improvement in one interval.”
For most customers on those lines, Metro said the wait times will actually be closer to five to eight minutes, since most stations are served by at least two of those lines.
The service improvements are expected to expand to weekends starting in September, Metro said.
Service on Metro lines has been reduced since a derailment last fall turned up a problem with Metro’s fleet of 7000-series rail cars.
Metro is phasing in the return of the 7000-series trains to service, and an automatic wheel measurement system is a key component of the plan, Metro said in a news release.
The system is in place on the Green and Yellow lines and is currently undergoing testing and validation, the news release said.
The process for restoring more 7000-series trains in Metro’s return to service plan depends on when the automatic wheel measurements are integrated into the inspection process.
Metro said in the release that they’ll look at the system’s performance and will create the next phases of the plan in consultation with stakeholders, including the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, which must approve the plan.
Clarke, who started this week as Metro’s chief by riding the rails on his first day on the job, said as he’s listened to riders this week, “service frequency hands down is the topic I’ve heard the most about.”
Fare structure and customer communication have also been front-and-center, he said.
Clarke also said that “today is a big step” when it comes to the Silver Line extension to Dulles Airport and beyond. He said that a key safety milestone is on track to be met in October, though he stopped short of declaring an opening date for passenger service.
“We’re either running safe service, or the service should not run,” Clarke said.
He said that overall, “We need to ensure that Metro delivers the world-class transit system that the national capital region needs and deserves.”