Metro

Metro Riders, Officials Call for Answers on Operator ‘Safety Issue'

“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"

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Metro riders and officials including D.C.’s mayor are calling for answers after Metro announced it will reduce service on two Metrorail lines for weeks after finding that nearly half of train operators lacked required certification updates. 

Trains will run every 20 minutes on the Green and Yellow lines, instead of every 15 minutes, at least through the end of May, the transit agency announced Sunday, citing a “lapse in Metrorail operator recertification.” 

Mayor Muriel Bowser expressed frustration and said Metro needs to answer for the issue. 

“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,” she said in a tweet. 

Metro riders were left waiting for delayed trains on Monday morning. 

“Hopefully it’s not like this every day,” said a young man at the Greenbelt station who was headed to his first day at a new job. He said he got to the station early just in case. 

Rider Keith Robertson put the train operator safety issue bluntly. 

“Well, it sounds like somebody messed up,” he said with a laugh.

Metro says it’s considering special mask only railcars. Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss has been following that development.

Sources with direct knowledge of the training process said there is no way Metro leaders didn’t know so many train operators needed to complete safety courses. The training includes classroom-style teachings and real-world scenarios and problem solving such as how to respond to issues with doors or brakes. 

This could have turned into a massive legal issue if it had not been caught and an uncertified train operator was involved in an accident, one source told News4.

Metro Board Chair Paul Smedberg said rider safety is at stake.

”The board finds this very unacceptable and extremely disappointing. You know, it’s a safety issue in our view,” he said. 

The board sets agency policy and oversees funding, operations and expansions. 

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