The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

D.C. Council to weigh emergency resolution urging Metro to restore late-night service

A Metro train picks up passengers. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) will introduce an emergency resolution Tuesday urging Metro to restore late-night service at the conclusion of SafeTrack, the transit agency’s yearlong rebuilding program.

Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld has proposed ending night-owl service to allow crews more time on the tracks for needed maintenance and inspections. Wiedefeld instituted a moratorium on extended service hours for the duration of SafeTrack, but he has proposed axing late-night service permanently.

“They’ve gotta find (track time) elsewhere,” said Evans, who also is chairman of Metro’s board. “My proposal was Saturday and Sunday morning. What do you like? Come up with something else … But for the District late-night hours are something very important. Unanimously, everybody wants late-night hours.”

Metro is considering several options to make up for the lost time. Evans introduced a proposal that would keep the system open until 3 a.m. on weekends, but delay Metro’s Sunday opening until noon. Other options include keeping the system open until 1 a.m. on weekends, but closing earlier on weeknights and opening an hour later than usual on Sundays.

Metro will hold a nine-and-a-half-hour public hearing on the proposed service cuts Oct. 20. Following are the proposals being considered:

Metro’s public hearing on late-night service cuts will be nearly 10 hours long

The bill, called a “Sense of the Council,” cites the need to shuttle tourists and late-night workers around the city.

“Workers, as well as patrons, of hotels, restaurants, and other establishments that stay open late rely on the Metrorail system to connect their places of employment with their homes,” it says.

It also points to the risk of drunk and fatigued driving, and other transit systems’ efforts to widen their hours of service as Metro’s shrink.

“Other major cities, such as London, are moving towards longer and later service hours to ensure connections between communities and employment centers,” it reads. “Transit continues to be a safer alternative to driving, particularly at night when drivers are fatigued and the risk of drunk driving is greatest.”

Here’s a copy of the resolution:

Sense of the Council Metro Late Night Hours

Metro’s public hearing on late-night service cuts will be nearly 10 hours long