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WMATA forms COVID-19 recovery plan

WMATA’s recovery plan is aligned with steps planned by local governments and employers.
Photo – WMATA Facebook


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) yesterday released preliminary details of its COVID-19 pandemic recovery plan, a flexible blueprint for ramping up service as the District of Columbia region prepares for recovery.

The recovery plan will follow four phases:

  • Stabilization: As stay-at-home orders are expected to be lifted this summer, WMATA will continue to ask riders to use the system only for essential trips and wear facial coverings on trains.
  • Managed re-entry: As regional businesses and governments scale back teleworking and schools reopen tentatively this fall, WMATA will aim to ramp up service ahead of demand to allow for proper social distancing. In this phase, all Metrorail stations now closed as part of the COVID-19 response will reopen.
  • Recovery: When a treatment and/or vaccine is widely available, WMATA will continue to ramp up service to meet ridership demand as economic activity increases. In this phase, the system will return to post-pandemic hours of service.
  • Resilience: Post-pandemic, WMATA will analyze the response to COVID-19 to make the system safer and more resilient to future pandemics.  

During the stabilization period this summer, WMATA will take advantage of low ridership to perform state-of-good-repair construction projects.

The plan includes targeted week-long shutdowns of three to five stations at a time for track maintenance and upgrades. The first shutdown is scheduled for June 7-13 at the L'Enfant Plaza, Waterfront and Navy Yard stations.

WMATA’s recovery plan is aligned with steps planned by local governments and employers, including the federal government, agency officials said in a press release.

The plan’s success depends on a sustained downward trajectory in infections and a gradual ramp-up in service and ridership. The phases coincide with the relaxing of stay-at-home policies, return to workplaces, and the widespread availability of testing, treatment and a vaccine, among other variables.

Efforts to reduce exposure to the virus will continue until treatments and/or a vaccine are developed to lessen the public health risk, officials said. 

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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