Update 3/13: Beginning Monday, March 16, Metro will reduce service in an effort to combat the spread of novel coronavirus. The updated service plans are as follows:
Trains will run from 5 AM to 11:30 PM (normal hours). Each line will operate every twelve minutes.
Buses will operate on a Saturday schedule on all weekdays. Weekend bus schedules remain unchanged.
Metro announced the changes in a press release Friday afternoon, marking a shift from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of their Pandemic Flu Plan. The decision to alter service was made “recognizing that many of Metro’s frontline employees are faced with tough choices as they balance work with their family priorities, including caring for children who are home from area schools,” the press release stated.
All administrative Metro employees are mandated to work from home. The Pandemic Task Force is also taking steps to protect employees who work in the Rail Operations Control Center, including banning all visitors and non-essential personnel.
Original 3/12: Metro might cut back or alter service depending on how the novel coronavirus develops, officials said Thursday. Although the transit agency wants to maintain full service, it’s preparing for the possibility of changes, Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld told Metro board members.
Wiedefeld said that changes could come if too many Metro employees fall ill, or if ridership dropped significantly. At the moment, the absentee rate for Metro employees is normal—at about 3%. Ridership is down: Metro passengers took 100,000 fewer rail trips Wednesday compared with the same day last week, according to the Washington Post.
“We want to remain flexible,” Wiedefeld said Thursday. “We want to maintain service — as much as we can, as long as we can — to meet all needs of the public. But all decisions will be made with the safety of our customers and employees in mind.”
“We are going over what-ifs,” he said.