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DC Metro Might Shut Down for a Very Long Time

Commuters are calling possible closures 'insane'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2016 1:35 PM CDT
DC Metro Might Shut Down for a Very Long Time
This is a Washington Metro train leaving Union Station on Dec. 8, 2014, in Washington, DC.   (AP Photo/Gene J.Puskar)

If commuters who ride DC's faltering Metrorail were peeved at the system's 29-hour shutdown in mid-March, they're not going to like the news out of the Metro transit system Wednesday. Per Fox5, a review is underway to determine how badly repairs are needed on the troubled railway, and Jack Evans, the Metro board's chairman, says extra work here and there at odd hours isn't sufficient. "The system right now, in order to do the maintenance that needs to be done, cannot be done on three hours a night and on weekends. It just can’t," he said Wednesday, per the Washington Post, adding that the Blue Line may need to be shuttered for six whole months (and that may not be the only line closed down in whole or in part) and conceding that "people will go crazy." At a gathering Wednesday of transit and government officials and local business bigwigs to discuss how to best reinvigorate the troubled system, Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld said he'd make the call on which lines to close and for how long within a month to six weeks.

He noted, "In the last few years, we've been trying to do this [maintenance] in a sort of piecemeal way, and basically we've alienated everyone." Possible alternatives for commuters—many of whom told the Post that such a plan sounded "insane" and "kind of terrible"—if a line or lines are shut down: added buses and telecommuting. "I don't know how I would get to work," a Northwest DC resident says, while another local says a massive shutdown would be "better than constant delays and me wondering if there's going to be a spark or fire." Some local pols shrugged their shoulders at the dilemma, with one county supervisor acknowledging to the Post that limited shutdowns provide only a "Band-Aid" fix, not the "surgery" the system needs. But DC Mayor Muriel Bowser isn't pleased. "Shutting down Metro for one workday was an inconvenience; shutting it down for months at a time will have far-reaching consequences for riders and the entire region," her spokesman says. (More metro stories.)

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