(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today announced that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has agreed to their request to extend Yellow Line service during the morning and evening rush hours while the Rhode Island Avenue and Brookland-CUA stations are closed from July 21, 2018, through September 2, 2018, for maintenance.  Metro will add capacity to the Green/Yellow lines, including running some Yellow Line trains to/from Greenbelt, during rush hour from Monday, July 23 through Friday, August 31. 

Norton and Raskin wrote WMATA last month asking for the additional Yellow Line service, as well as requesting additional information on the planned shuttle bus service that will be provided to transport residents along the Red Line who rely on Metro service at the Rhode Island Avenue and Brookland-CUA stations.  Metro today announced that it will provide free shuttle buses for customers travelling between Fort Totten, Brookland, Rhode Island Ave, and NoMa-Gallaudet U stations.  In addition, Metro announced it will “operate express shuttles between Brookland and Rhode Island Ave and the areas of Metro Center, Gallery Place and Union Station,” and that “MetroExtra G9 will operate at all hours the rail system is open, seven days per week, connecting Rhode Island Avenue with Downtown D.C. and other rail and bus lines.”

“Because the scheduled closures of the Rhode Island Avenue and Brookland-CUA stations are bound to be disruptive, Metro has an obligation to anticipate whatever is necessary to ease residents’ commutes and facilitate transportation alternatives,” Norton said.  “Extending rush hour trains, which will provide relief for some commuters by reducing transfer times, is a good first step.  It is also critical that Metro ensure that the scheduled shuttle bus service for residents living along these Red Line stations is robust and efficient.  I will continue to monitor Metro’s plans to ensure that it takes all the necessary steps to ease disruption during the upcoming maintenance period.”

“We’re delighted that Metro is doing its summer maintenance program, but we have to plan ahead to make sure that we extend rush hour service on the Yellow Line and provide prompt and effective shuttle bus service to mitigate the disruption experienced by our constituents,” Raskin said. “I am very glad that Metro has been responsive to us and look forward to working closely with Congresswoman Norton to continue improving the Metro rider experience for our constituents and ourselves.”

Below is the text of the letter Norton and Raskin sent to WMATA.

Mr. Paul J. Wiedefeld
General Manager and CEO
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
600 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Mr. Wiedefeld:

We write to request detailed information about the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA)’s announced shutdown of the Road Island Avenue and Brookland-CUA Metro rail stations from July 21, 2018 through September 2, 2018. We appreciate WMATA’s continued efforts to address major structural issues throughout the rail system and agree that safety (of passengers and workers) should be our first priority. However, as Representatives of the two congressional districts primarily serviced by Metro’s Red Line, we are naturally concerned about the implications of this shutdown on our constituents who rely on the system every day.

When WMATA suspended rail service between the Silver Spring and Takoma Park stations in November 2017, it told commuters that chartered shuttle bus service would be substituted along the closed route, to help them minimize delays and disruptions. Unfortunately, during this time period, passengers reported excessive wait times - up to sixty minutes in some cases –  to board buses and significant disruptions in traveling between the two stations during the fourteen-day closure. We are concerned that our constituents will face similar delays and disruptions during the upcoming Rhode Island Avenue/Brookland-CUA station closure, with shuttle bus service again supplementing rail service through some of the most heavily congested parts of the District of Columbia and Maryland, for forty-five days – a much longer period of time. 

WMATA often advises riders to seek alternative methods of transportation during system maintenance and station closures. While that may be feasible for some commuters, it is not a solution that is available to everyone. We urge WMATA to proactively take steps to mitigate the disruption and delays caused to our constituents during the upcoming closure. For example, we encourage WMATA to consider extending Yellow Line trains to and from Fort Totten station during the morning and evening rush hours from Monday, July 23rd through Friday, August 31st. This small change would help commuters save time and avoid additional station transfers that lengthen their daily commutes.

In an effort to address our constituents’ concerns and provide the public with as much detailed information as possible about this planned closure, we would appreciate your response to the following:

  1. What are WMATA’s current plans for providing shuttle bus service to riders traveling between the Rhode Island Avenue and Brookland-CUA Metro stations during the planned shutdown this summer?
  2. What information or data did WMATA rely on to plan the shuttle bus operation implemented during the 2017 closure of the Silver Spring and Takoma Park stations? What information or data is WMATA relying on as it prepares to meet the needs of riders this summer?
  3. What reviews were conducted to assess WMATA’s shuttle bus operation – including delays and customer satisfaction during the Takoma Station shutdown in 2017?
  4. Will WMATA commit to providing the public with an updated shuttle bus schedule and increased bus service for riders on the closed section of track this summer?

Thank you in advance for your response to these questions and for your efforts to make WMATA safe and reliable for everyone.

Very truly yours,

Jamie Raskin
Member of Congress

Eleanor Holmes Norton
Member of Congress