Ice a challenge in restoring Metro service
Update (10:35 p.m.): Metro said ice continues to be the biggest challenge in restoring service for bus, rail and MetroAccess, the service for the elderly and disabled. In some cases, the electrified third rail has iced over again after being cleared. Officials said the goal is to have all above-ground stations open in time for the Monday commute at 5 a.m. Officials will make a decision on bus service in the morning, and MetroAccess will only be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a limited number of customers.
Update (7:45 p.m.): Metro's Red Line from Shady Grove Station to Union Station will reopen at 8 p.m. Sunday, the transit agency said in a press release.
Five above-ground stations will open: Shady Grove, Rockville, Twinbrook, White Flint and Grosvenor-Strathmore Metrorail stations. Waits between trains will be 24 to 30 minutes, Metro said.
Metro suspended all bus service at 7 p.m. Sunday due to icy roads.
Officials said MetroAccess service, which provides transportation for the elderly and the disabled, should resume Monday, but will be limited to three-quarters of a mile from all operational bus routes. Officials said the agency would contact customers if their scheduled trips are canceled.
Update (4:25 p.m.): Metro has restored some bus service and is working to restore service to above-ground stations. Part of the problem is that hundreds of rail cars parked in rail yards have to be dug out by hand. Metro did park some trains in underground tunnels, but they need more railcars to provide commuter service.
Crews also have to clear the tracks of ice and snow. Officials said the system will reopen in phases, and they plan to send out updates as that happens. The hope is that there will be full service to the above-ground stations at 5 a.m., but the transit agency hasn't made that determination yet. The latest information may be available on the Metro Web site.
If service does resume Monday morning, commuters will face another challenge: parking. Lots are going to be filled with mounds of snow and ice. Metro estimates that 15 percent of the space may be unusable. The top levels of parking garages will also be problematic.
According to a statement, Metro is using employees and contractors to do the work, which includes shoveling out entrances to stations and moving snow off exposed escalators.
While there is limited bus and rail service, MetroAccess, which services the elderly and disabled, is not operating Sunday. No word yet on when that service will resume, but information on the program is available on this Metro Web site.
Original post: Metro has said the suspension of bus and above-ground rail service, which went into effect Saturday, would continue Sunday morning when the system reopened.
Separately, Montgomery County's Ride On bus system will start up at 10 a.m., though customers should be prepared for delays or detours, the county said.
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