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Metro likely to limit rail Thursday

Airports | Amtrak | Buses | Capital Weather Gang | D.C. snow emergency | Plowing plans | Rails | Snow removal | Live traffic

The ferocity of the storm that swept through Washington left Metro officials anticipating that the system will only have run rail service underground Thursday and will limit bus and MetroAcess services, or suspend the latter operations altogether.

On Wednesday, the transit agency stopped workers from clearing tracks and stations as blizzard conditions caused three- to five-foot snow drifts. High winds were making conditions unsafe for workers, said Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

"Mother Nature has the upper hand right now," she said. "Whatever we clear gets covered up immediately."

Metro has barricaded escalators at some stations to keep out the snow, meaning elevators offer the only access. Strong winds blew a door off its hinges at Largo Station, Farbstein said.

Metro has stored an unprecedented 506 train cars in underground tunnels and is running 76 cars in its limited underground service Wednesday, officials said. As of noon, 11,000 trips had been taken on the rail system Wednesday.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

By Michael Bolden  |  February 10, 2010; 3:09 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , transit  | Tags: metro, metro safety  
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Next: Amtrak limits Thurs. service


I would like to see some "man on the street" interviews of who exactly is riding Metro on days like this.

Posted by: member8 | February 10, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Essential workers, people heading out to get supplies, people out and about to go to "snow parties", curious people who want to see deep snow and get out of the house, to name a few. In areas where you can easily access underground Metro (Arlington, DC), there seems to be a little more normalcy to life (at least in the immediate aftermath of the storm, as opposed to during the storm itself) and less things closed, etc. as a direct result of Metro's underground service, which for many is the ONLY way to get around.

I would like to extend a huge thanks to those at Metro who have managed to keep at least part of the system open during these storms.

Posted by: thetan | February 10, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The invisible kind- the ones guarding buildings, working in restrnts, grocery stores etc. etc.

Posted by: Troglodyte | February 10, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention snow plow operators, street surveyors and inspectors, grocery store workers, etc. By being opened the city has to pay for fewer snow crew workers to stay in hotels.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | February 10, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Metro has underground service for those who can use it and need it. But since they will not run above ground service on Thursday and either limit or shut down bus service (and Metro Access), there should be little left for OPM to consider. The Federal government just needs to shut down the rest of the week and let snow crews catch up with this mess. The work will be there and will get done. We'll all just have to work harder to get it done when conditions improve.

Posted by: CJMARTIN04 | February 10, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

There were a fair number of people going to work on both Monday and Tuesday this week. Thanks to Metro, those people (my husband and I included) waited for an hour for a train that could take them downtown where they had to report to work. Why an hour? Because the trains were running so infrequently, by the time a train got to Woodley Park, which is where we were, there no longer was any room to board additional passengers.

A near riot occurred while people on the platform scrambled to squeeze into the nonexistent space left on the trains. One elderly man slipped and fell.

Metro said it was running its underground trains at 30 minute intervals due to lowered demand (about 40% of its ridership= federal govt employees). Schools were also closed. But guess what? There are employers in the private sector who were largely open and actively conducting business. Wow, and those are the business who are producing revenue... unlike the federal government. Clearly, if trains were too full for people to board...and about 100 hundred people stayed behind on the platform to wait for the next train, Metro's rationale for running less trains is flawed. There is a demand.

Also, many employers, like mine, wait for Metro's announcements during inclement weather to make a decision as to whether they should ask employees to come in. Metro's announcements have a DIRECT impact on DC's economy. Not sure if they understand this fact. It is very serious when they purposely limit metro service.

So, I am not thankful for metro. We're living in the nation's capital. I expect better service and a better contingency plan. And I don't expect that the public transportation system should be allowed to dictate who may or may not go to work.

Posted by: elham17 | February 10, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

wahhhh!!! wahhhh!!! Metro isn't perfect on a day when there is an unprecedented snow disaster. wah!

Tomorrow, Metro is the only transit provider in the DC area that has any service. You will be delayed and inconvenienced no matter what mode of travel you choose, metro included. All things being considered, its still more convenient and safe than driving.

Posted by: thetan | February 10, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

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