Four Metrorail stations in Prince George’s County reopened Tuesday after shutting down nearly the entire summer for platform work and other safety improvements.
Riders who travel those stations along the Green and Yellow lines — West Hyattsville, Prince George’s Plaza in Hyattsville, University of Maryland in College Park and Greenbelt — will see LED lights, walk on slip-resistant tiles, hear improved sound systems and be able to charge cellphones underneath stainless steel shelters.
Those stations closed May 29 as part of the transit agency’s 10-year, $15.5 billion capital improvement plan to refurbish platforms and perform other safety measures. Work is scheduled to be completed next summer at the other three stations in Prince George’s along the Orange line — Cheverly, Landover and New Carrollton.
“This is a special day that we only not reopened the station … but we ask everyone to remain safe,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said at the Prince George’s Plaza station, which he toured along with Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) and Prince George’s County Council Chair Calvin Hawkins II.
Employees and patrons must wear masks inside all 91 of the transit system’s rail stations in the D.C. region, as well as while on Metro trains and buses.
Tuesday also marked the start of the agency’s vaccination COVID-19 policy to receive a vaccine, face weekly testing, or provide documentation to request religious or medical accommodation.
As a way to bring back patrons, the agency on Sunday began offering discounted fares and an extension in service hours that include:
• Metrorail flat rate of $2 on the weekends and free bus transfers to and from Metrorail.
• Seven-day regional bus pass from $15 to $12.
• Metrorail stations closing at midnight Sunday through Thursday and at 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
• About three dozen bus routes operating between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (20 bus lines every 12 minutes and 16 bus lines every 20 minutes)
In addition, Metro will push to decreases average wait times at rail stations.
Riders at stations serviced by three lines are expected to wait no more than three minutes. Stations with two lines are to have wait times of no more than five minutes, while those with one line would have a maximum time of seven minutes.
As patrons entered and exited the Prince George’s Plaza station, Metro workers handed each a flyer about the SmarTrip card. Cards purchased before 2012 will no longer work because of updated technology at fare gates throughout the transit system.
If the numbers “0167” appear in the second position of the serial number on the back of a card, then nothing else needs to be done. Incorporating a SmarTrip card in a mobile wallet also allows customers to utilize Metrorail service.
Dorothy Manahanch of New Carrollton, who traveled to Hyattsville so she could shop at Prince George’s Plaza, expressed her satisfaction with the reopening of the Metro station.
“It’s good it opened back up,” she said minutes after getting off a Green Line train. “I use Metro every morning when I’m going to work. This [Metrorail] service is something I need.”
A summary of the service changes can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3n7SO7b.