A myriad of transit news items, so pay attention.
E-Z Pass: If you’re a Maryland driver who has an E-Z Pass, get ready because the state is tacking on a monthly maintenance fee. Starting July 1, a $1.50 charge per account will be added; there will also be a new charge of $3 accompanying a Notice of Toll Due. Toll violation charges will increase from $15 to $25 and the duration of E-ZPass commuter plans will change from 60 days to 45.
Metro Track Work: After some time off, the work crews are back and we’ll be seeing weekend line delays as Metro restarts its maintenance cycles. This weekend is the Red Line’s turn, so add 20 minutes to your travels between Silver Spring and Forest Glen from 8 p.m. Friday to close of service on Sunday.
Next weekend – President’s Day and Valentine’s Day weekend – the Blue and Yellow lines will see the Pentagon station closed from Friday evening through midnight Monday. Special service will run on the Blue, Yellow and Green lines and provide free shuttle service between Pentagon City, Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations.
We’ll cover more service disruptions for the rest of February in two weeks.
Nationals Bus Service: WMATA is considering cutting the N22 bus service as part of its service reduction plan; the N22 is a key line that shipped many disappointed Nationals fans between the stadium and Navy Yard. However, the District’s got your back! A Circulator bus route is going in to replace the service. While it’s not officially announced as such – WMATA still has to hold a meeting before fully discontinuing the line – but it looks as if the Union Station – Navy Yard route will be picked up by the Circulator.
WMATA Service Cuts: While Metro’s not considering a fare hike for the rest of the year, it’s still operating at a loss and is asking local government leaders to suggest where it can make cuts. WaPo had a great breakdown as to what is working and not with WMATA’s finances and worth a look, especially for those who use Metro services for the majority of their regional travel.
Metro did set some guidelines down for the cuts: no reductions in safety and security are being considered; a 10 percent across-the-board cut across all departments; and as minimal disruption and impact on service. A tall order, to be sure – and many aren’t convinced the transit authority can do it. There’s no publicly proposed reductions as of yet, but it’s very likely routes that see few passengers will be first on the chopping block.
One VERY disturbing comment from WMATA regarding the cuts is that the Metro budget didn’t anticipate the cost of Inauguration Day service. Which is astounding. How could you not anticipate it, or at the very least, make adjustments once it became obvious it would be a historic event? While WMATA is seeking federal payment to recover those expenses… you have to wonder where exactly is Catoe & Co’s collective mind these days.
Winter driving tips: Much thanks to Ann Posegate at the Capital Weather Gang for a great no-brainer article reminding DC/VA/MD drivers on how to actually drive when there’s snow. Read it, learn it, love it. There will be a test later…