- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2017

Commuters will grapple with delays and shutdowns on the Metro in upcoming months as the transit agency extends track repairs — previously scheduled to last until March — through at least June.

Metro released a schedule Thursday detailing the upcoming SafeTrack repair surges, one of which includes an 18-day closure of the Blue Line track between the Rosslyn and Pentagon stations starting Feb. 11.

During that time, Blue Line shuttle trains will only run between Franconia-Springfield and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, but Yellow Line trains between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square will run normally.

Beginning March 4, work will shift to the southern end of the Blue and Yellow lines, with continuous single-tracking between Braddock Road and Huntington/Van Dorn Street through April 9, further disrupting service for those traveling to and from Northern Virginia.

After reading Metro’s schedule announcement, Charles Witt, an Alexandria resident who has previously used Metrorail on his daily commute to Rosslyn, said he will opt to drive to work.

“I’m basically going to be giving up on the Metro completely,” said Mr. Witt, 48. “I’ve experimented with it before, and with the transfers and everything, it takes about the same amount of time to drive as it does to Metro.”

In its SafeTrack schedule announcement, Metro encouraged passengers to take alternate routes while track work is underway.

Mr. Witt said the upcoming service changes were the final straw for he and his wife, who recently learned to drive so that she could avoid using the Metro.

“It’s been getting to the point of being completely unreliable,” he said. “You never know when a train is or isn’t coming. I was caught up in one of those two and half hour meltdowns last year, and after that, I never really wanted to ride metro again.”

Blue and Yellow line repairs will not affect the Orange or Silver lines, and Metro is not planning to put additional Orange or Silver Line trains through Rosslyn, according to the announcement.

Ken Schwartz, 45, who commutes to D.C. from Centerville, thinks this will lead to overcrowding on Orange and Silver Line trains.

“It could go either way, it could free up Orange and Silver trains or it could do the opposite,” Mr. Schwartz said. “Based on my experience with the Metro, it will do the opposite.”

When the SafeTrack program, which launched in June 2016, is complete, Metro will shift to a “regimen of preventive maintenance,” according to Thursday’s statement.

Mr. Schwartz said he hopes Metro will stick to its word.

“I get why they’re doing this, they’re trying to make it safer,” Mr. Schwartz said. “We don’t want to get hurt, we don’t want to die on the metro. It just seems to not be planned well.”

Specific dates for repairs on the Green, Orange and Red lines taking place in April, May and June, will be announced later in the year.


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