News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Brilliant: Metro Seeks to Address Declining Ridership By Closing Silver Line Stations

Metro cuts

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.


  1. Almost enough to make you think that having Phase 1 include 4 stops in Tysons might have been a little bit of a mistake.

    Maybe they should have gone the route of Potomac Yards and not really added the extra stops until there was the density and ridership to support them (shockingly, the Spring Hill metro station that is surrounded entirely by car dealerships is under utilized in the evenings/weekends).

    1. To be honest there are two new apartment high-rises next to it with more to come. Maybe the people living there should buy cars instead, those Teslas look shiny! :)

  2. Actually, all we want to do is LOOK at the shiny new Silver Line, not ride it. And--because it's there--that's enough reason to increase density around the stations by five-fold or more.


  3. Although all the options sound awful, closing these stations on weekends is probably better than the alternative of raising fares or the other idea that has been floated of another 1% regional sales tax (after we in NOVA already increased the sales tax to 6% for transportation,and now they want us to vote to add another 4% on for meals too, although that would go to the schools). The crazy part is that in the midst of this mess, Metrorail is being extended out to the middle of nowhere in Loudoun County, and guess what's going to happen to the tolls on the Dulles Toll Road again?

    1. When NC passed a state lottery by promising the money would go for education it did, but an equal portion of the budget was taken out for other use (corporate tax breaks) resulting in no net gain of school money. Brilliant!

    2. Is there a silver lining (no pun intended ) to metro expansion to loudoun county? Won't loudoun have to pay into metro maintenance, upkeep, etc? Not saying that the loudoun citizens will like it or anything, but aren't they like the richest county in the world ?? Or only for 2 stations ? I'm not saying soak loudoun , but Fairfax County likes taxes and fees lol. My dang car tax is going to be as much as my car lol. Are they raising the tolls again? ?? Toll road users are definitely getting soaked ...ouch

  4. Call the bluff and have them close all of the stations at all hours and convert the tracks into a jogging trail.

  5. What do you mean: "All we want to do is LOOK at the shiny new Silver Line?"

    Some of us - say 99.9995% of us (all Reston residents except for the current Supervisor and former Fairfax County Board Chair Kate Hanley) assumed that, since Dulles Toll Road users have paid over 50% of almost $200 million to purchase 64 Series 7000 railcars for Phase 1, we would actually ride them on the Silver Line. Fat chance!

    We forgot to factor in the chicanery of our government officials. It appears that MWAA and WMATA officials conspired with former Governor Tim Kaine, his staff at Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and local officials to screw the public. WMATA claims that passenger demand is insufficient on the Silver Line to warrant use of eight car Series 7000 trains - a situation that WMATA says will not change in the foreseeable future. WMATA and DRPT worked together to design Series 7000 railcars to only operate in eight car sets. As a result, we have yet to see shiny new Series 7000 railcars in regular service on the Silver Line. This apparent major fraud on taxpayers results from repeated failure to act in the best public interest by Northern Virginia members of WMATA Board.

    Governor Tim Kaine, working closely with then Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerry Connolly, established the Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee in 2006 to provide oversight over design and development of the Silver Line. Somehow, most likely by design, Kaine and Connolly omitted any representation in the DCAC by the group who are paying over 50% of Silver Line costs - Dulles Toll Road users.


    It's time for Fairfax County Supervisors and officials to work in the public interest of Restonians for a change!


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