Metrorail service has increased to the highest levels since the pandemic began – and more stations are opening soon.
On Sunday, Metro restored Silver Line service for the first time since Memorial Day and six Fairfax County stations reopened.
The East Falls Church and Arlington Cemetery stations will open on Sunday, Aug. 23 after being closed for months. In addition, the Dunn Loring and Vienna stations are set to reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Metro says the increase in service will reduce wait times dramatically, with trains running every 8 minutes on each line during rush hours and every 12 minutes during off-peak times.
Metrobus service will also be restored on routes that haven't been running in months starting on Sunday, Aug. 23, Metro said.
Buses will run from 4 a.m. to midnight daily, but shedules vary by route. Service is expected to improve on 174 bus routes.
Bus service has been operating at about 40 percent of what it was before the pandemic, and that will increase to about 75 percent of pre-pandemic levels on weekdays, according to Metro.
But are riders ready to return?
News4 asked that question on Twitter – and the responses show that there is still concern, even fear.
One person saying they are "very dismayed at the number of unmasked riders in stations."
Another saying: "No. No. And No."
"I would be ready to ride, just no events to go to," one rider tweeted.
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld spoke with News4 by Zoom.
He says if Congress doesn’t approve another round of Covid-19 relief for transit agencies, including Metro, they may have to significantly scale back service by the end of the year
"Unless things start to change dramatically, which to be frank I don’t see in the near future, we are going to be in quite a bit of pain.
We are going to have to make some hard hard decisions.”
But Metro is still trying to get riders back, explaining there are new safety protocols in place.
Half a million masks are available to hand out to riders, and News4 has learned new UV light disinfectant devices are being used on escalator handrails.
Masks or face coverings are required when traveling on Metro, including all stations, trains, buses and MetroAccess vehicles.