Metro implements safety policies as usage ramps up

Mary Harney

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) established procedures to limit any lingering risk from COVID-19 in buses and trains. 

Their facilities and equipment, including rail stations, trains, and buses, will continue to be disinfected and cleaned daily.

If a person is known or suspected of having COVID-19 has been in an area for the past three days, a deep cleaning is required.

Face masks will continue to be required and the air in Metrorail cars is recycled about every three minutes. In addition, new air enters frequently as the doors of a bus open and close at each stop. 

On Wednesday June 2, Metro’s Board of Directors met and approved bus and train service improvements including running buses on 34 lines until 2 a.m.

Bus service should also increase by the time the new school year begins. “Metro will expand late-night bus service on June 6, as part of Metrobus service improvements that will bring Metrobus service up to 85 percent of pre-pandemic levels,” said Sherri L. Ly, a Metro spokesperson. Rail service hours will also extend to midnight. 

The WMATA Board is considering plans for more frequent trains and buses, according to a statement by Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg. 

Finance Committee Chair Steve McMillin said in a statement that “we believe that a consistent, reliable service pattern throughout the day will help attract more riders back to transit as the region reopens.” 

Despite the improved sanitation and the air quality will be better, after more than a year of distance learning in which many people avoided public transportation altogether, some students have concerns.

 “I would love to be back riding on the bus again,” junior Hana Rihani said. “But, I would feel a lot safer if I know people are vaccinated because I know I’m going to be safe and I don’t have to worry about anything.” 

Principal Martin has yet to hear concerns from parents related to the Metro and echoed the excitement for a return to normalcy. “I think kids are missing it. I missed the Metro so much,” Martin said. 

Kids Ride Free cards will continue to be valid through September 30. If students need a Kids Ride Free card over the summer, they can pick up a card on Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. •