Chock full of WMATA today.
First up, it looks like the Circulator will be taking over one or two Metrobus routes this spring. This would increase the local service to five looping routes from the current three. Which routes aren’t yet determined, but Circulator officials have stated they can offer the same service as Metro for less money. Whether Metro agrees or not remains to be seen.
Additionally, the Fairfax Connector is proposing to operate three Metro lines beginning this summer.
Metro’s desperate to plug a $154M hole in their budget, so it would be in their best interest to look at letting local services handle it. But Metro would lose the line’s fare revenue and subsidies from the jurisdiction that is paying Metro for the service. While the operating costs would go away, they may be reluctant – or stubborn – to let that money go.
The Examiner‘s Kytja Weir does a great job looking deeper into the issue.
Meanwhile, Metro and Alexandria city officials are meeting this week to discuss the oft-bandied about idea of installing a Metrorail station at Potomac Yard. The area’s a continually growing mix of retail and residential, with the 590K square foot Potomac Yard shopping plaza a key source of the area’s increasing density.
The idea’s been flipping about since 1997 or so; Metro did a further study into the area last year and estimated a station may cost as high as $150M. The proposed area for the station lies between the Braddock Road and National Airport stops on the Yellow and Blue lines.
If you’re interested, there’s a public meeting on the matter Thursday night at 7:30 pm in room 1101 of Alexandria City Hall.
Finally, more Metrorail maintenance work coming. The Red Line’s turn is this weekend; riders traveling between Silver Spring and Forest Glen should add about 20 minutes due to single-tracking between 8 pm Friday 2/20 and midnight Sunday 2/22. Metro is replacing several rail fasteners.
Next weekend, the Green and Yellow lines will see delays due to switch maintenance at Mount Vernon Square. Riders travelling between Mount Vernon and the U Street stops will need to add about 30 minutes to their travel times due to single-tracking from 10 pm Friday 2/27 through midnight Sunday 3/1.