Per WMATA: Starting Monday, May 8, Red Line trains will arrive every six minutes during the busiest weekday periods from 6 – 9 a.m. and 3 – 7 p.m. The change will help relieve crowding during rush hours when Red Line trains are at or near capacity. During the midweek 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. hours most trains between Union Station and Metro Center have more than 90 people packed in each railcar, with some trains reaching 150 passengers per car.
Outside of peak periods, Red Line trains will continue to run every 8 minutes during the daytime and evening hours, and every 10 minutes after 9:30 p.m. seven days a week. Metrorail ridership continues to show strong growth month-over-month as service improves. In April, average weekday ridership hit 324,500, a pandemic-era high and 50 percent of pre-pandemic ridership during the same period.
“We are looking at every opportunity to make our service even better for customers with more frequent, safe and reliable options,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Randy Clarke. “Our teams are working hard every day to improve your Metro service and provide a world-class transit experience for customers in the region.”
The improvements come as Metro advances the final version of its 7000-series Return to Service Plan. This allows Metro to keep more trains in service by widening the wheelset inspections from every seven days to every 15-days as we work with the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) to get concurrence on our 7000-series Wheelset Replacement Program.
The wider inspection interval also gives Metro greater flexibility to improve service across the system, increasing the number of trains by 55 percent since July and providing additional trains to reopen the Yellow Line. Service will resume across the Potomac River on May 7, between Huntington and Mt Vernon Square, following an eight-month, on-schedule, on-budget project to rehabilitate the tunnel and bridge over the Potomac which are more than 40-years old.
Metro’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget which begins July 1, includes additional service improvements as more railcars and operators become available. Metro’s Return to Service Plan includes moving to a 30-day inspection interval after submitting one-month of wheelset and vehicle-track interaction data to the WMSC. Long-term, the solution involves repressing the wheelsets on all 7000-series rail cars to change the way wheels are pressed on axles, which requires safety checks, independent quality control, and concurrence from the safety commission.
Once reviewed and approved by the WMSC, it is expected that each 7000-series railcar will return to the regular preventative maintenance inspection program after the wheels are replaced.