Red Line riders prepare for summer shutdown as WMATA reveals shuttle strategy

WMATA announced a few months ago that there would be Red Line closures scheduled for this summer.

They’ll be doing maintenance at a few stops, and Purple Line preparation work at the Silver Spring stop.

On Tuesday, WMATA’s general manager and Maryland leaders announced the dates and workarounds for the closure.

Starting June 1, the rail stops at Glenmont, Wheaton, Forest Glen, Silver Spring and Takoma Station will all close.

Takoma is expected to reopen by June 30. The rest of the stations are expected to reopen by the end of August.

"I’m about to leave earlier than I already leave at. It’s going to be rough for me," said Barry Duncan, a Red Line rider.

According to WMATA data, 16,500 riders per day get on the Metro rail system at those five stops.

The main workaround announced by WMATA: free shuttle buses.

The bus stops will remain open at each impacted station.

There will be local shuttles between each station and an express shuttle between Silver Spring and Metro Center taking people downtown.

In order to facilitate this, WMATA, Montgomery County and Maryland officials have closely collaborated to create roughly 7 miles of pop-up bus lanes, primarily on Georgia Avenue, to enable buses to move more quickly.

The county says they studied this closely.


5 Red Line stations to close this summer; impact could be 'major,' say officials

Officials in Montgomery County are expressing worry that closing five Red Line Metro stops for the summer could negatively impact commute times for everyone.

They say they understand the impact will be felt, particularly as people get used to the new patterns in early June.

"It’s a big deal what we’re pulling off here. We’re getting 7 miles of bus lanes in Maryland. That’s never been done before. So I think the fear of change will end up being worse than the change itself," Metro General Manager Randy Clarke said.

Joe McAndrew is a WMATA Board Member and deputy secretary at the Maryland Department of Transportation.

"We know this work will have a major impact on the community, our riders, our residents, our businesses, so we’re appreciative of them working with us this summer and this collective team partnering to make sure we can do our best to mitigate the pain and ultimately deliver the long-term benefit," McAndrew said at a press conference Friday.

Nina Matthews typically rides the Red Line two stops. For her the trip is too long to walk, but too short to rely on the bus. 

She said she’ll have to figure out what’s best for her.

"I think it’ll be tough anyway, because with the bus schedules you kind of have to time it well, and they won’t be as frequent, and buses are crowded. It’s a lot, it’s a hassle. I mean, it’s helpful, but it’s not as helpful as just being able to hop on the train really quick," Matthews said.


Metro sees drop in crime, fare evasion down by 50%, WMATA says

Metro says they’ve seen positive trends in recent months, including less fare evasion and crime.

Leaders added they’ll be paying close attention to what they may need to adjust to their plan. But they also stressed if the dedicated bus lane works, they may consider keeping it in the future.

"I’m excited for the shuttles," said Uri Roshwald, who was riding the Red Line with his mother Tuesday.

"So that’s a little disruptive," Jackelyn Lopez Roshwald told FOX 5, "But, we do really like the buses and having the additional shuttles will make it pretty easy for us."

For full information about the project and shuttles, click here