Great Cities Don’t Take Late-Night Transit Service Away From Workers

What a sad state of affairs for transit in the nation’s capital.

The end of the line for late night transit service in D.C.? Photo: Nevermindtheend on Flickr via Greater Greater Washington.
The end of the line for late night Metro service in D.C.? Photo: Nevermindtheend/Flickr via Greater Greater Washington.

As WMATA, the agency that runs the DC Metro, temporarily disrupts service to take care of necessary system repairs, it’s also considering a permanent end to late-night service.

That is entirely unacceptable, especially in a city where so many people work outside the typical 9-to-5 shift, says Kristen Jeffers at The Black Urbanist. Jeffers works in Kansas City now, but soon she’ll be personally affected if Metro shrinks its hours of service:

There’s a reason I walk around with my DC SmartTrip card hanging around my neck. And I post time-lapse Instagrams and such of the KC Streetcar working well. Why I wish I could park my car for good and why I relish walking in even 90 degree heat, if it means I’m able to propel myself to my destination. Or in the old days, walking just an 1/8 of a mile to a bus stop near my parents homes, that would take me straight downtown and open up the rest of Greensboro.

And it’s definitely why the root of this blog is my musings on wanting a train in Greensboro. Why I spent a year working in an official capacity for bike and pedestrian infrastructure improvements. Why I still will write these kinds of posts pushing for transportation options and most certainly equity. My parents used public transportation. They had cars too, but they also supported me taking Amtrak (including of course my first memorable trip from Greensboro to DC with my mom) and they supported my solo trips, which sometimes included cars and which sometimes did not.

This is what personally makes me disappointed with this call recently, even after all this maintenance is done, for DC’s WMATA (the umbrella that the rail and bus sit under) to shut down Metrorail even earlier at night and to not open it early. I’ve noticed that even in supportive forums online, people have noted that the system wasn’t meant to be a subway, a modern city enterprise.

Really? So the Nation’s Capital isn’t a modern global metro region. Yeah, the one with the three working airports, one with so many international air carriers it makes my head spin…

And what about those fine bartenders, waiters, hosts and such. Maybe that was you 20 years ago, but you moved up in the world… Or even better, the people who’ve always worked the overnight shift, the ones who make sure you can get your fresh kale smoothie you reluctantly drink because now you need to fix your health.

I care so much now because as a handful of you know, I’ll be making the move from KC back to the DC Metro area in a few weeks. With my budget and with where I may be working, Metrorail may be a lifeline.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Pedestrian Observations floats a cost-saving idea for high-speed rail on the Northeast Corridor. The Political Environment refutes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s claim that he’s putting billions in highway spending on hold. And Seattle Transit Blog considers whether Sound Transit should reverse the direction of some station escalators.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

When People Aren’t Afraid to Walk in the Street With Cars

|
“Shared spaces” are streets where driving is allowed but walking and biking take priority. They are designed without curbs, signage, and other typical markers that separate cars from people on foot. The design cues are subtler. Everyone mixes together in the same space, and drivers travel slowly enough that they can make eye contact with pedestrians. Can […]

Where Car Commuting Is Shrinking — And Where It’s Not

|
Where are Americans making the shift away from driving to work? Crunching newly-released Census data, Yonah Freemark looked at how commute travel is changing in different cities and regions. In general, car commuting in major metro areas declined between 2005 and 2015, but the shift was greater than a couple of percentage points in only a few […]

Will Federal Oversight Help or Hinder DC Transit?

|
The feds have taken over safety oversight of D.C.’s embattled Metro, and that could actually be cause for concern, says David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx laid out his vision for safety-related reforms under the aegis of the Federal Transit Administration in a recent piece in the Washington Post. One person was killed when smoke filled […]

Metro Goes Off the Rails, and DC Streets Grind to a Halt

|
No one was hurt when a Metro train derailed in downtown DC yesterday, but the incident wreaked havoc on the morning commute — for transit users and motorists. David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington said the derailment and ensuing Metro service interruption “surely contributed” to gridlock throughout the downtown area, as people who would normally […]

Forget Your Bike Lock? Businesses in Portland Have You Covered

|
From around the Network today: Portland’s private sector takes cyclist accommodation to a new level; metro DC bungles transportation at its sports venues; and a potentially transformational piece of legislation in California loses its oomph. Portland Businesses Loan Bike Locks to Forgetful Customers: It’s interesting how businesses are taking leading roles in making Portland even […]