The full Metro board Thursday plans to consider a somewhat more restrictive version of the original resolution on train time standards that was presented to a board committee two weeks ago.
The original version proposed by the transit staff would have set the minimum standard on the gaps between Metrorail trains at 15 minutes during rush hours and 30 minutes off peak.
While Metro officials said that setting a minimum standard did not mean they planned to cut train service, many riders were alarmed. Some board members also expressed concern and approved amendments.
The new wording of that section says:
“Resolved, that the Board of Directors approves headway as a Metrorail service criterion, and sets thresholds such that normal schedule headways will not exceed 15 minutes during peak service, 20 minutes during off-peak service, and 25 minutes during late night service after 10 p.m.”
The full board can still debate and amend the resolution Thursday.
I think the transit staff and the board agree that setting minimal standards where there were no formal standards is a positive step. But I doubt that any version of standards will appeal to riders as long as they see the transit authority working to define how bad service can get before its intolerable.
The standard for train times has gotten the most attention from riders, but it’s not the only part of the package. If adopted as is, the resolution also has the board approving standards on the number of passengers per car: “the average weekday passengers per car shall not exceed 120 nor fall below 80 during the peak hour, in the peak direction, at the maximum load points.”
The resolution also sets minimum standards on operating hours, but those just match the current operating times for weekdays and weekends.
It winds up with the board formally handing over a lot of power to the general manager: “Resolved, that responsibility for defining all other Metrorail service criteria and thresholds be delegated to the general manager/CEO; and be it further resolved that minor service changes may be implemented by the General Manager/CEO to achieve service criteria thresholds provided that the service change does not result in an increase in jurisdictional funding requirements.”