This is it: Your one and only chance to get up in front of Metro leadership and explain how their proposed late-night service cuts could affect you.
Before officials make a final decision on whether, and how, to cut night hours to allow for more time track maintenance, they’re holding a single public hearing on the matter. It will be Thursday, Oct. 20, starting at 12:30 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m.
Yep, you read that right.
12:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Here are the rules of engagement: There will be no advance registration for would-be speakers. Instead, people who attend the meeting will be able to sign up to offer their opinion on a first-come-first-served basis. Regular folks will get three minutes to make their presentation; public officials will have five minutes, and they’ll be able to skip ahead in the line once they arrive.
People on the sign-up list won’t be allowed to yield their time to other speakers.
And even though Metro is allotting nearly 10 hours for people to speak their piece (bring snacks, everybody!) there’s no guarantee that everyone will have a chance at the mic. It’s expected to be a crowded event, especially since Metro board Chairman Jack Evans, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and Nats pitcher Max Scherzer have urged everyone to come out lobby Metro to not cut late-night service — or at least make an exception for Nats playoff games.
“There can be no assurances that all those wishing to testify at the hearing will be heard before the closing time of the hearing,” Metro said in its announcement about the meeting. “However, should you be concerned that you will not be able to provide your testimony orally before the cutoff at 10:00 p.m., there will be staff on hand to help you with multiple ways to submit your comments into the public record including the use of a digital recorder to record your oral comments.”
What are those other ways to get comments on-the-record?
First, Metro has posted a survey on late-night service cutback options, available here.
Metro is also accepting written statements, which should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or The Office of the Secretary, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 600 Fifth St., NW, Washington, DC 20001. (Requested subject line: “OPERATING HOURS.”)
Comments will be accepted until Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016.
And just in case you forgot, here are the options that have been presented by Metro:
Let’s get ready to rumble!