- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 27, 2003

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Metro officials are expected to announce plans to expand the subway system's hours of operation this morning.
Metro board members will consider opening a half-hour earlier on weekday mornings and an hour earlier on weekends. Trains at the end of each line would start operating 5 a.m. on weekdays and at 7 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
In addition, Metro would start extra trains at 5:15 a.m. on weekdays at several midway stops like Fort Totten, Medical Center, Bethesda, Crystal City, Ballston, Potomac Avenue, and the Navy Yard.
Service would be extended from 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights to 3 a.m.
Incoming Metro Board Chairman Jim Graham said last week that one of his priorities was expanding service.
Metro has been studying such a plan and expects the additional 6.5 hours of operation would bring an extra 1.1 million riders per year and cost at least $3 million.
Metro sources said part of the reason to propose expanding hours is that it helps to further justify a fare increase.
The Metro Board has the option to approve all three expansion ideas or just one. The additional hours would not start until the new fiscal year begins July 1.
Additional bus service would be needed on Sunday mornings to correspond with the extended hours.
Metro extended its 1 a.m. weekend closing time to 2 a.m. in 2000. Officials said an average of 4,800 riders boarded the weekend trains during the extra hour last year, exceeding expectations.


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