The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Late-night Metro service may disappear for good under new proposal

A view on a Silver Line train coming from Virginia in the direction of D.C. (Mark Miller/The Washington Post)

Metro riders may have to bid a permanent adieu to late-night weekend service.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Tuesday he wants the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to permanently shutter the system Friday and Saturday nights at midnight, even after the end of the SafeTrack maintenance period — part of his effort to complete more maintenance work on a routine basis.

And on Sundays, Wiedefeld proposes, the system would shut down at 10 p.m. instead of midnight.

The change would have to be approved by Metro’s board of directors before it could be put into effect after the conclusion of SafeTrack. He’ll officially float the idea at Thursday’s board meeting.

Behind the scenes of SafeTrack: Long shifts, scorching heat, unexpected kinks

“The additional track time increases safety and reliability by giving workers the time and space they need to keep Metro’s infrastructure in a state of good repair,” Metro said in a statement, pointing out that the permanent schedule change would reduce the number of operating hours on the system only by eight hours per week.

“To inform this recommendation, Wiedefeld engaged peer transit agencies and rail engineering consultants, all of whom urged that the focus on track safety and maintenance continue to prevent Metro from sliding backward,” the agency said.

Metro is currently operating under a curtailed schedule: When Wiedefeld announced his plans for the SafeTrack program, a 10-month period of intense service disruptions for ambitious maintenance work, he also pushed for Metro to close early during that period to allow for more work to be performed.

Having trouble maneuvering around Metro's 10-month maintenance overhaul? Well here is a guide to help riders find the perfect alternative. (Video: Ashleigh Joplin/The Washington Post)

Riders are not expected to be too happy with the schedule change.

SafeTrack workers violated safety standards in dozens of incidents, FTA says