After seeing ridership steadily decline in recent years, Metro has, as they say in the movies, a plan: close the majority of its brand new Silver Line stations during off-peak hours. That'll solve the problem!
This is one of a variety of proposals floated in a draft presentation (PDF) of Metro's budget proposals for FY2018. Metro is already making plans to privatize parking at most stations, though probably not at Wiehle (and given how the invisible hand of the free market brought us $13 one-way tolls on the Beltway express lanes, we're excited to see how that works out). And further cuts in service and/or fare increases seem as inevitable as the next track fire or inexplicable single track delay.
Of course, this silver-filled trial balloon is part of a ploy to
blackmail encourage Fairfax County and the other jurisdictions that Metro serves into ponying up more money to keep the beleaguered system afloat. And it might work! After promoting Tysons Corner as the next Paris hip urban center, the county isn't going to want all those new fancypants skinny jeans wearing, city-loving residents in Tysons' two ugly high-rises to lose access to their Metro stations in the evenings or the weekends. How would they get to the 9:30 Club, or any other amenities of a real city (with the possible exception of the Container Store) otherwise?
This kind of bloggy outrage is exactly what Metro is hoping to stir up with a proposal like this. Still, it's not a great sign of confidence in the future of your system when your plan to turn around declining ridership is to basically close most of your newest stations most of the time. But for a dysfunctional system, it's par for the course.