Metro lays out new snow plan

December 2, 2011

The transit authority has bought more equipment to remove snow and has a new “severe winter weather plan,” that would alter service as conditions worsen.

Metro officials stressed that the new plan is only a guide, but they want to provide passengers “predictable service levels based on weather conditions.”

Metro plans to try to maintain normal service on its buses and trains when up to 1 inch of snow falls, but service levels could change as conditions worsen, with bus routes being altered and wait times being extended.

In a press release, Metro General Manager Richard Sarles said, “Metro provides the region with essential service during winter weather, but it is important for customers and stakeholders to understand our limitations and the effects that weather can have on service.”

Generally, Metro shuts down service at aboveground rail stations once snow totals reach more than eight inches and covers the third rail that powers trains.

In past years, such as during a snowfall last January and 2010’s Snowmageddon, buses had their own troubles navigating the streets. During the blizzard of 2010, many of the system’s trains were buried in rail yards and had to be dug out by hand.

Here’s the plan from Metro:

  • ●Snowfall up to 1 inch: Normal service is expected on Metrobus and Metrorail.
  • ●1 to 2 inches of snow: Metrobus will maintain a normal schedule as long as road and traffic conditions permit. A number of routes may be rerouted. Metrorail will provide normal service with minimal delays.
  • ●2 to 4 inches of snow: Buses on heavily traveled routes will run approximately every 15 minutes. Detours will be in place on many routes in known problem areas, such as hilly areas and narrow neighborhood streets. Metrobus will begin to curtail service on routes to outlying suburbs and hilly areas as buses become challenged. Metrorail will increase the wait times between trains, therefore customers can expect minor delays.
  • ●4 to 8 inches of snow: Metrobus will continue to scale back service. Buses will operate approximately every 30 minutes on heavily traveled routes as conditions permit. Metrorail will continue to operate, however customers may expect 15 minute delays. Trains with snow plows and ice scrapers attached will operate between trains carrying passengers.
  • ●More than 8 inches of snow: Metrobus will provide limited service. Buses will operate only on the busiest routes on main roads, and only as conditions permit. Metrorail will provide underground rail service and limited above ground service. As conditions worsen, Metorail will operate underground only.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Follow me on Twitter @postmetrogirl.

Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.
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