State and local officials from Prince George’s and Montgomery counties are pushing back against Metro’s proposal to permanently end late-night train service, which has been curtailed this summer by the transit agency’s maintenance-overhaul project.
The 40 officials sent a letter Thursday to Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld requesting to keep the trains running later, which they said is a largely a matter of public safety.
One of the officials, state Delegate Diana Fennell (D-District 47A) of Colmar Manor, called the proposal to end late-night service “ridiculous.”
“You have workers at night and it is being a big inconvenience for them,” she said. “It is just not feasible.”
The agency has been closing stations at midnight on weekends in order to complete work along the rail system as part of its SafeTrack maintenance plan, which began in June. Metro is proposing to keep those times in effect permanently, as well as shutting down at 10 p.m. on Sundays.
Prior to SafeTrack, the stations had remained open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and midnight the rest of the week.
A Metro spokeswoman said Friday that Wiedefeld will make a formal request Thursday to keep those times in effect before the board of directors’ Customer Service, Operations and Security Committee.
According to the officials’ letter, closing the stations earlier burdens those working late-night shifts and hinders transit-oriented development around the stations.
“While we are comfortable with suspending or limiting late-night service during SafeTrack and future maintenance periods, no decisions should be made about permanently scaling back this service until after SafeTrack is complete,” the letter stated.
The committee’s vice chairman, Malcolm Augustine, said no decision would be made until next year. He doesn’t disagree with the points made in the letter, but said another option for providing service for late-night riders could be extended bus schedules.
“The whole point of bringing it to the board is to get the conversation started,” he said. “We must consider safety first. That, to me, is overriding all factors.”