The Montgomery County Council’s Transportation and Environment (T&E) Committee will host a town hall on Thursday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m. focusing on service improvements to Metro. Representatives of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will present an overview of a new package of service improvements, and residents and advocacy groups will have the opportunity to discuss the impacts of these improvements. The town hall will be held in the Silver Spring Civic Building (1 Veterans Plaza in Silver Spring).
The service improvements package includes ending the Silver Spring turnback, doubling rush-hour service on the northeastern end of the Red Line. Turnbacks at the other end of the Red Line at Grosvenor-Strathmore were eliminated in December. The package also includes transitioning to exclusively eight-car trains on all lines to increase rush-hour capacity; adding 30 minutes of peak service during the morning rush hour and an hour and a half in the evening rush hour; and having a flat fare on the weekend.
The T&E Committee consists of Councilmembers Tom Hucker (chair), Evan Glass and Hans Riemer.
“The Metro system is essential for mobility and economic development in Montgomery County and the region,” saidCouncilmember Tom Hucker, who also represents District 5, where the Silver Spring station is located. “WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s service improvements proposal would have a significant impact on riders, and we want to make sure residents have their voice heard.”
Paul Wiedefeld is expected to attend the town hall, along with Metro board members and representatives of the Maryland Department of Transportation.
“I was excited that after more than 30 years, Metro recently ended the “Grosvenor turnback” on the western end of the Red Line,” said Councilmember Hucker. “But customers traveling to and from Glenmont, Wheaton, Forest Glen and Silver Spring deserve the same level of service. We want to hear from residents who would be impacted by this proposed change.”
“On behalf of the 150,000 Montgomery County residents who ride Metrorail or Metrobus each day, I strongly support plans for increasing rush hour service throughout the system while also eliminating disruptive turnbacks at Silver Spring,” said Councilmember Evan Glass. “Access to good transportation services is important for economic development, social equity and quality of life. It is crucial that Governor Hogan and General Manager Wiedefeld listen to riders and their need for safe, frequent and reliable service.”
“Metrorail and Metrobus are the backbone of Montgomery County’s transportation system – without them traffic would overwhelm our roads and RideOn bus system and the County would grind to a halt,” said Councilmember Hans Riemer. “I am eager to hear from residents about how we can make sure the system is reliable and easy to use. One key improvement is eliminating the turnbacks on both sides of the Red Line. I’m glad WMATA has heard our advocacy and eliminated the Grovesnor turnback, and I hope they will do the same on the east side as well.”