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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA expands commuter options


"People like choices, and we’ve got plenty: buses, trains, cars and trucks," said Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Chief Executive Office Richard White in a prepared statement.

The agency, which for several months has offered passengers cars to rent from stations, May 6 added pickup trucks and hybrid cars to its offerings, and upgraded its pilot Bike-on-Rails program to permanent status.

WMATA’s car-sharing partner, Flexcar, added one Ford Ranger pickup to College Park Metrorail and Columbia Heights Metrorail stations’ fleets. Both trucks offer keyless entry panels. In addition, Flexcar plans to offer the Rangers at a Virginia Metrorail station later this summer.

Two Honda Civic hybrid cars also have been added to the program’s 32 Civics. Felexcar plans to more than double the fleet by year-end by adding more hybrids.

Hybrid cars have a combination gasoline engine and electric motor, which enables the car to average 46 miles per gallon in the city, 51 mpg on highways, and have lower emissions than gasoline-engine vehicles. Also, the cars’ batteries recharge themselves while they’re being driven.

Meanwhile, WMATA’s board decided to make permanent its program allowing passengers to bring bicycles onboard trains during off-peak weekday hours and all day on weekends. The board also plans later this month to consider adding bike racks to Metrobuses.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/10/2002