As Metro gets ready for SafeTrack Surge #2, officials urge using other transportation options

Starting on Saturday, the second phase of Metro's SafeTrack will shut down service along the Blue, Orange and Silver lines between the Eastern Market and the Minnesota Ave and Benning Road stations.

A top Metro official said on Wednesday that they need at least 30 percent drop in ridership during Surge No. 2 of the SafeTrack rebuilding program. If that doesn't happen, the official said passengers trying to use the shuttle buses that will bridge the shutdown sections could quickly find those buses extremely overcrowded.

"We need a significant amount of riders to not use Metrorail, and it pains me to say that, but we need them to divert from Metrorail, and as they have, look at other options," Regina Sullivan, managing director for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's Office of Government Relations and Policy.

Her remarks came at the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board.

FOX 5 has learned that work on the first surge of SafeTrack's single-tracking between East Falls Church and the Ballston-MU stations is 96 percent done and will wrap up Thursday night. Metro said they are on schedule with rail tie replacement, insulator renewal and fastener and leak repairs.

Surge No. 2 will run from June 18 to July 3. Rail service is shutting down between Eastern Market and Minnesota Avenue/Benning Road stations and will go on for 16 days affecting the Blue, Orange and Silver lines east of the Anacostia. (FULL DETAILS HERE)

There are concerning trends for Metro when it comes to its revenues. During the second quarter fiscal year 2016 report, ridership is down 25 percent, sending revenues on a downward trend. But Metro's expenditures and procurement are increasing and top officials for the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board warned if the local governments in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia don't come up with more money for Metro, it could put the transit agency in a financial death spiral.