Metro is reducing service on Green and Yellow line trains while it works on recertifying rail operators, the transit agency said. The impacts are expected until the end of May.
“Nearly half of Metro’s 500 rail operators” have lapsed recertification, a process “which includes classroom instruction, and supervised testing in the rail yards as well as on the mainline,” the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said.
Metro will begin to address the issue by removing 72 operators who became out of compliance before May 2021, according to a news release.
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This means Green and Yellow line trains are now running every 20 minutes instead of every 15 minutes, as of Monday.
The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) said it supported the decision after its audit “identified that Metrorail is not meeting its operational refresher training and recertification requirements.”
The WMSC also said it told Metro that it had “stopped train operator recertifications entirely,” and is pleased that Metro is now “aggressively addressing the matter.”
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The recertification process is supposed to refresh the rules for train operators and provide evaluation. It will take two to three months to recertify more than 250 rail operators, WMATA said.
“The [WMATA Board of Directors] finds this unacceptable and extremely disappointing,” WMATA Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg said. “We support Metro management’s decision to immediately remove from service operators who became out of compliance more than a year ago as a first step.”
On Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser criticized Metro via a series of tweets, saying the transit agency has "a management problem."
Bowser went on to write, "We expect that WMATA will provide the public with a full understanding of how this happened and how they will prevent it from happening again in the future."