Metro will offer travel credits to inconvenienced riders


Metro will offer travel credits to inconvenienced riders

The problems keep coming for Metro. Following a train derailment outside the Smithsonian station, a number of issues have hampered the agency this week.

On Metro's Orange/Blue/Silver lines, trains are single-tracking between McPherson Square and Federal Center due to a track problem at Smithsonian. There are delays in both directions. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) 

WASHINGTON -- Metro will issue a travel credit to all riders who used SmarTrip cards on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines today.

Riders who used a SmarTrip card to enter and exit the system and traveled between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday will automatically receive a credit on their card for the fare they were charged at the gates.

Qualifying riders will receive the credit on their SmarTrip card early next week when they tap their card at a Metro faregate or fare machine.

The credits will be processed automatically to SmarTrip cards, no action is required by customers to receive the credit.

"We absolutely understand the frustration among our Blue, Orange and Silver line customers," said Metro Interim General Manager/CEO Jack Requa. "Given the significant service disruptions that inconvenienced riders over multiple commutes this week, we are taking this step to thank everyone for bearing with us. I also offer a sincere apology to everyone who was inconvenienced.

Metro’s Orange, Blue, and Silver lines are no longer single tracking. Delays continue in both directions.

Shortly after 11 a.m., Metro said power was restored and a disabled train at East Falls Church had been cleared. Trains were to be tested before service was restored.

The Orange and Silver Lines were temporarily suspended for about an hour Friday morning, and 97 passengers on one train had to walk about 500 feet on the tracks back to East Falls Church.

Elsewhere this morning, a Shady Grove-bound Red Line train offloaded at Farragut North shortly before 9 a.m., which caused more delays.

Despite the delays, Metro's Interim General Manager Jack Requa says single-tracking "is one step toward improvement."

“We’re working feverishly in a safe manner to try to get the entire system back before tomorrow morning," he said at the time. “We know this is a great inconvenience for our passengers. We’re working as fast as we can.

Metro maintenance crews were continuing to work Thursday evening to move the third derailed car back onto the tracks.

An empty Metro train derailed outside the Smithsonian Station as it prepared go into service as a Blue Line train just before 5 a.m. The subsequent closure of several downtown stations and the service suspension resulted in massive delays for riders.

The three cars were resting a foot or so off the track, but had not tumbled onto their sides. Officials don’t know whether the cars were damaged, says Requa.

“Until we get the cars out of there, we really won’t know," he says.

Metro says three cars left the track as the train was turning around between Smithsonian and Federal Triangle along a switch that moves to a different track. The three cars were among the oldest models in the fleet that are set to be replaced during the next few years.

A Metro spokeswoman said late Thursday that once the last rail car was moved off the track, crews would assess any damage to the track. That will determine the impact on Friday morning’s commute, and whether or not single-tracking will continue.

Requa says that there was no damage to the tunnels or any other infrastructure. But there was still no word of a possible cause of the derailment.

“I don’t know about speed … We know that there was no work going on in that location,” Requa says.

No one was injured and only the train operator was on board at the time.

Requa acknowledged that the derailment and resulting delays and service suspensions do not help the transit system’s image, which has taken a beating from passengers and politicians alike since the January smoke event that killed one woman and sent dozens of people to the hospital. 

The system has yet to hire a new general manager since Richard Sarles announced his retirement last September and is still working to address changes required in the wake of a 2009 derailment along the Red Line that killed nine people.

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