Image courtesy of WMATA, Photograph by Larry Levine
by Jacqueline Jedrych
Starting on Sunday, September 5, 2021, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) introduced a number of changes, including discounts and increases, to both rail and bus services.
Catholic University is situated directly on the Metro Red Line, at the Brookland-CUA stop. The Metro acts as an easy and affordable way to get around the city; in 2019, an average of 5,783 people per day rode from the Brookland-CUA stop alone.
The Metro is introducing three main discounts. First, transfers to and from rail to bus are free of charge; riders must use a SmartTrip card, and will be credited with a $2 voucher to cover the transfer. Second, weekend fares are a flat rate of $2 for any distance or transfer. Third, the seven-day Regional Bus Pass is discounted by 20%, $12 for a normal pass and a senior/disabled pass for $6.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Metro Rail drastically reduced hours of operation. The new extended hours of operation include midnight trains on Sunday to Thursday and trains until 1a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Sunday morning trains run beginning at 7 a.m. instead of 8 a.m.
Wait times for trains also are drastically reduced. The reduction depends on both the number of lines that service the station and the time of day. For the Red Line, the estimated wait times are six minutes during rush hours and during the weekdays, 10 minutes after 9:30 p.m., and eight minutes during Saturdays and Sundays.
Bus services have also expanded, adding buses to 36 of the most popular routes, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., seven days a week.
These service increases and fare reductions are beneficial to all students on Catholic University’s campus, especially commuter students, many of whom rely on the Metro service to bring them home after classes and activities.
“I personally know that anyone, including commuters, will benefit greatly from the decreased wait times for both buses and the metrorail,” said Robert Giron Jr., Director of the Student Government Association’s Commuter and Transfer Student Executive Initiative. “The change that stands out the most to me is the fact that Red Line metrorail cars after 9:30 will now arrive every 10 minutes. This is great news because many commuters use the red line to get home after late classes or club/student org meetings. My freshman year, metro cars would take 15+ minutes to arrive at Brookland making it an inconvenience to stay on campus late. Thus, many commuters would rather leave campus earlier in the day, preventing them from getting involved on campus.”
Residential students are also excited for the change.
“I think it definitely benefits college students,” said junior psychology student Clara Hodson. “The reduced flat fare on the weekend makes it way more advantageous to take the metro over a rideshare like Uber, which has gotten way more expensive in the past couple of months.”
To stay up-to-date on Metro closings, delays, and news, visit their website.