Metro (WMATA)

Hybrid Work Schedules Make for Unpredictable Commutes, DC-Area Workers Say

Some workers in the Washington, DC, area told News4 they can't plan for their commutes

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Those pre-pandemic days in which D.C.-area commuters could plan around high-traffic times might be gone for good.

More people are back at work, but hybrid work schedules are making it harder for drivers to know when to expect bad traffic.

Some workers told News4 they can't plan for it. For instance, a Monday isn't always the same as a Wednesday when it comes to general, everyday traffic.

"It is really unpredictable. I live up in Manassas, so I have about 45 minutes to an hour commute because of traffic — so it’s really frustrating," one woman told News4.

Others say they've noticed more traffic in the middle of the week.

"Back to normal, at least probably, like, Tuesday, Wednesday … but I think on Fridays, probably still less. Less people are probably in the office those days," commuter Brad Gallant said.

Gallant said he enjoys the hybrid work schedule, even if it seems to compress commutes to the middle of the week.

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But hybrid schedules are just one part of the issue.

"Construction, all these toll roads — it makes for a longer commute,” a woman said.

One thing is certain: More employees are heading back to the office.

Data from Kastle Systems, which tracks key card swipes at office buildings, shows that last week, its local offices had a 44.7% occupancy rate. That was up 4.7% from the week before, when there was a 40% occupancy rate.

Metro also reported an increase in riders on trains.

“There’s no question in last two weeks, ridership has seen a pretty good increase. I think if I recall, last week we were up 9% week over week,” Metro General Manager Randy Clarke said in a meeting with the Montgomery County Council.

But Clarke says Metro is having a harder time tracking exact travel patterns.

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