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Metro is planning a three-year capital project that will reconstruct the outdoor platforms at 20 Metrorail stations to address structural deficiencies after decades of exposure to the elements. At many of these stations, temporary measures have been installed to stabilize the platforms to ensure passenger safety until reconstruction can take place. The project is estimated to cost between $300-400 million and will be the first major construction project to benefit from dedicated capital funding recently approved by the legislatures in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Rebuilding platforms is heavy construction activity that requires that tracks be taken out of service to allow for demolishing existing structures, access to the construction area, and concrete pouring.
Metro has already rebuilt platforms at 10 of the system's 45 outdoor stations; however, the process used previously resulted in years of single tracking and customer inconvenience. Rebuilding the two most recently reconstructed platforms, at Minnesota Avenue and Deanwood stations, took approximately three years.
Following extensive internal planning and consultation with construction contractors with the goal of minimizing customer impact, Metro developed a program that advances the reconstruction of the next 20 platforms primarily using extended shutdowns during summer months-rather than single tracking-to provide contractors with 24-hour access to selected work sites. The approach improves safety while significantly reducing project duration because workers do not have to repeatedly set-up and break down their equipment. The approach also minimizes customer impact by allowing Metro to continue to provide normal rail service elsewhere on the system.
Under the first phase of the plan, beginning next year, Metro is planning to demolish and rebuild the station platforms at Braddock Road, King Street and Eisenhower Avenue stations, resulting in a shutdown of rail service south of Reagan National Airport during the summer of 2019. Blue and Yellow line service will operate at regular intervals between the airport and Largo Town Center (Blue Line) and Fort Totten/Mt Vernon Square (Yellow Line). Six of Metro's 91 stations will be closed between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2019: Braddock Road, King Street, Eisenhower Avenue, Huntington, Van Dorn Street, and Franconia-Springfield.
Metro will partner with the jurisdictions and other transportation agencies to develop traffic mitigations and customer travel alternatives. Metro customers will be given at least three months of advance notice prior to any service change under the program.
Following the 2019 summer shutdown, Metro will reconstruct the platforms at Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield, Huntington, and Reagan National Airport between September 2019 and May 2020. The location and configuration of these stations allows construction to take place while all rail stations remain open. During this phase, rail service is expected to operate normally except for the Blue Line in September 2019, which will be impacted by the reconstruction of Van Dorn Street Station.
The remaining 13 station platforms to be reconstructed in 2020-2021 are: West Hyattsville, College Park, Greenbelt, Rhode Island Avenue, Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, East Falls Church, Cheverly, Landover, New Carrollton, Addison Road, and Arlington Cemetery. Service plans for these stations are being developed, including possible coordination with construction activity associated with the Purple Line in Maryland and the widening of I-66 in Virginia.
Metro GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld on March 10, 2018 issued the following statement:
"This morning, the Virginia General Assembly passed historic legislation that will provide, for the first time, a dedicated funding source for Metro’s safety and reliability programs. On behalf of all Metro customers and employees, as well as the communities whose economic wellbeing depends on a safe, reliable Metro system, we are truly grateful."
Metro today announced nine new schools are joining Metro's University Pass program for the Spring 2018 semester.
U·Pass is now available to students enrolled in the Washington, D.C. programs at the following nine schools:
At about $1 per student per day, Metro's U·Pass offers an affordable transportation option for students to travel throughout the region for classes, internships, jobs and other activities.
Since the U·Pass program began in August 2016, students from American University, Washington College of Law and Carnegie Mellon University/Heinz College have taken more than 2.2 million rides on Metrorail and Metrobus using U·Pass.
The U·Pass program is available to any accredited college or university in the Metro service area. The decision to participate is made by each university community.
Metro is inviting employers from DC, Virginia and Maryland to learn how to they can save money on payroll taxes while offering a valuable benefit to their employees through the SmartBenefits® program. On Tuesday, January 30, Metro will host a free SmartBenefits seminar where employers can learn more about the program and get started.
SmartBenefits is Metro's IRS-compliant commuter benefits program that offers employers and employees an opportunity to save thousands of dollars in taxes using pre-tax transit benefit payroll deduction; a direct employer-paid transit benefit; or a combination of the two.
Employers can also use SmartBenefits to comply with the DC Commuter Benefits Law, which requires all employers with 20 or more employees to offer commuter transit benefits.
Unlike other benefits programs, Metro does not charge additional fees to participate in SmartBenefits. Employers may save $400 or more annually in FICA and unemployment taxes for each SmartBenefits participant. Employees who participate can save $1,000 or more in taxes every year.
Signing up is free, and employers only pay for the passes, fares or parking ordered as part of the benefits or payroll-deduction program.
To learn more about SmartBenefits, sign up for Metro's SmartBenefits Seminar:
WHEN: Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
WHERE: Metro Headquarters, 600 Fifth St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 (closest Metro stops - Judiciary Sq and Gallery Place)
Interested employers should RSVP to reserve a seat.
The benefits of SmartBenefits
Metro makes providing commuting benefits easy with its SmartBenefits program. Employers can save hundreds of dollars on FICA and unemployment benefits per employee.
Effective Monday, February 5, 2018, Metro will expand hours when parking fees are charged, lower parking fees at two stations as part of a pilot program, and begin charging higher fees for "non riders" at additional stations. In addition, a $2 fee for Saturday parking will begin February 10.
The changes will allow Metro to maximize utilization of parking facilities without increasing the daily parking rate for Metro customers on weekdays.
Metro will adjust the hours when parking fees are collected to begin two hours earlier on weekdays and end one hour later on Fridays. Parking fees will also be collected on Saturdays.
Beginning February 5, parking fees will be in effect during the following hours:
On Saturdays beginning February 10, a parking fee of $2 will be charged for Metrorail riders who park at Metro garages and lots. (Individuals who park at a Metro facility but do not use the rail system may be charged a higher fee at selected lots. See "Non-Rider Parking Fees" below.) Parking on Sundays and federal holidays will remain free except when special event parking rules are in effect.
The weekday parking fee will be lowered to $3 at Landover and West Falls Church to study whether lower parking rates will increase demand for parking at underutilized Metro stations.
The changes outlined above are part of a pilot program through July 2018 approved by the Metro Board of Directors and may become permanent.
Individuals who park at Metro facilities but do not use the Metrorail system will be charged a higher "non-rider fee" (ranging from $8.70 to $10) Monday through Saturday at selected locations. Current parking fees for Metro customers are not changing. In order to receive the lower rider rate, customers must pay with the same SmarTrip card used to enter/exit Metrorail, and must exit the parking lot within 2 hours of the start of their last Metrorail trip. Metrorail customers who use a credit card at these stations will incur the non-rider fee.
NOTE: Customers who use a commuter benefits debit card to pay for parking should contact their employer about using SmartBenefits to load your parking funds to your SmarTrip card. Learn more at wmata.com/SmartBenefits.
Stations charging a non-rider fee will include:
Green Line Branch Ave, Greenbelt, Suitland
Yellow Line Huntington
Orange Line Dunn Loring, Minnesota Ave, New Carrollton*
Blue Line Franconia-Springfield, Largo Town Center
Silver Line Largo Town Center
Red Line Rhode Island Ave, Rockville, Twinbrook*, White Flint*
*Existing stations with non-rider fee
The parking enhancements are estimated to generate approximately $4 million in additional revenue to help fund Metro services.
For information about parking fees by station go to the parking page on wmata.com.