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The streets of DC have become a ghost town with the Government's Shutdown

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

WASHINGTON — The Metrorail shutdown is making for an unusual commute in the early hours of Wednesday, as the lack of service is forcing some people onto the roads and inspiring others to stay home.

 Federal offices, for example, are open in the D.C. area, but employees can take unscheduled leave or telework.

“Some people who usually take 45 minutes to get to work are telling me it’s taking 20,” Taylor said at about 6:45 a.m. “Others who usually take 15 have been sitting in traffic for 45 minutes, and they still aren’t there.”

 He added that there wasn’t any pattern to the delays or the easy spots, saying it looks random.

THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION announced early Wednesday that all their museums will open at noon, except the National Museum of American Art, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Zoo, which will open on time.

 METRO GENERAL MANAGER Paul Wiedefeld announced the shutdown on Tuesday, saying that the agency needed to inspect underground electrical cables.

A cable caught fire outside the McPherson Square station on Monday, leading to single-tracking and major delays. On Tuesday, Wiedefeld said that the fire was similar to the problem that caused the deadly smoke incident outside L’Enfant Plaza in January 2015.

 Metrorail generally carries more than 700,000 riders per day. Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans, a member of the D.C. Council, tells The Associated Press that it’s believed to be the first time that Metro has been shut down for mechanical reasons.
Metro faces funding problems

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

 THE FAIRFAX CONNECTOR has added extra buses going directly to the Pentagon, and at a reduced price. A supervisor tells WTOP’s Neal Augenstein that a ride that usually costs $7.50 will on Wednesday cost $1.75.
 IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, where Metrorail is boarded 85,000 times a day, officials say that the Ride On service will add buses Wednesday.

All trains on MARC’s CAMDEN LINE will stop at Greenbelt on Wednesday, including those that don’t usually stop there.

 IN ALEXANDRIA, the DASH bus will operate off-peak service from the Braddock Road Metro Station to the Pentagon Metro Station on the AT3 and AT4 routes from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in addition to regular weekday service.

IN THE DISTRICT, DDOT’s traffic management center opened at 4 a.m. to monitor traffic cameras around the city. If congestion gets bad at a particular spot, the timing of traffic signals can be adjusted to improve the flow.

 Other changes planned in D.C. for Wednesday:
  • Traffic control officers are positioned at key locations;
  • Construction work will be suspended during morning and evening rush hours;
  • Residential street sweeping will be called off for the day.

Meanwhile, Uber is capping its surge pricing at 3.9 times the regular rate, and Uber Pools, which allow users to share rides, are being expanded to the entire area. First-time Uber users can get a $25 discount by entering the code METRODC.

 The ride-sharing service Lyft is offering a $20 discount for new riders, with the code METRO HELP.

Metrobus will operate as normal, and additional buses will be provided for D.C. Public Schools. Students who are late or absent will be excused.

 Also, parking will be free on Wednesday at all Metro-owned lots and garages for those taking the bus or carpooling.


Leaders’ reaction

 D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says she was “shocked” by the decision to shut down Metrorail. She said she doesn’t question Metro’s authority to make the decision, but wants to know more about how it was made: “What options did they look at [before doing this]? Was a 29-hour closure the only option?”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he’s disappointed that the closure has become necessary, but supports the decision to take whatever safety steps are needed. McAuliffe called Metro “essential to the economic health and quality” of the Northern Virginia and the entire commonwealth.

source:  WTOP.com

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