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SafeTrack FAQs

Q: What is SafeTrack?

SafeTrack is WMATA’s accelerated track work plan to address safety recommendations and rehabilitate the Metrorail system to improve safety and reliability. SafeTrack is expected to complete three years' worth of work into approximately one year. The plan significantly expands maintenance time on weeknights, weekends and midday hours and includes 15 "Safety Surges" - long duration track outages for major projects in key parts of the system.  

Q: What is the District doing to mitigate the impact?

  • The District is working to set up specific action plans for each surge.
  • Establishing No Parking zones for bus shuttle loading and unloading zones
  • Expanding rush-hour no parking restrictions during the AM and PM rush on priority bus corridors
  • Enhancing Capital Bikeshare capacity focused on single surges and offering $2 single-ride trips
  • Expanding the use of taxi stands and areas for pooling rides
  • Establishing a moratorium on construction work along certain corridors
  • Deploying and reassigning traffic control officers to help keep shuttles on schedule
  • Adjustments to the DC Circulator
  • More obvious messaging and the use of Variable Message Signs to alert motorists of SafeTrack-driven changes.
  • Beyond DDOT, the Executive Office of the Mayor is working with the Department of Human Resources on workplace hours flexibilities
  • There will be constant communications throughout the Surges
Q: When will additional Traffic Control Officers be deployed?
TCO deployment starts Monday, June 6
Q: When will rush hour restrictions take effect? 
Rush hour restrictions will start on Monday, June 6
Q: When will additional taxicab and carpool space be available? 
We expect to have additional for hire vehicle locations by the June 18 closure from Eastern Market to Minnesota & Benning during Surge 2. Carpool locations will be added as we see where there is demand based on changing travel patterns. 
Q: When will traffic signal retiming begin? 
Traffic signals will be monitored and adjusted on an ongoing basis. Most people probably won't notice that we have adjusted signal timing, but we will be able to make specific location and system-wide adjustments. We strongly encourage travelers to seek alternatives to driving single-occupancy vehicles within and into the District during the Safety Surges. We will be able to manage the traffic signal system as best as we are able, but we need everyone to do their part by seeking as many alternatives as possible.
Q: When will Cabi reduced fees begin?
Capital Bikeshare is introducing a "per trip" membership option beginning June 4. Users will be able to pay $2 for up to 30 minutes with normal usage fees applying after that. This will help casual users access the system rather than needing to buy an $8 day membership. Annual memberships will stay $85 with unlimited rides up to 30 minutes in duration. 
Q: What should transit riders do if they find trains too crowded to board?
In many cases the rail service plans cannot carry the normal level of Metro riders.  Customers who have reasonable transportation options such as nearby local buses routes, bicycle options or the option of driving to another rail line should try those opportunities.  If not, riders should be prepared for very crowded trains and try to move their trip outside of the peak rush times of 7:30 to 9 in the mornings and 4 to 5:30 in the evenings.
Q:  Where will people park when the rush hour no parking time periods are expanded? 
SafeTrack will require sacrifices and compromise from nearly everyone.  Individuals who normally park on rush-hour restricted streets may need to modify their own work hours so that they arrive home after 7 pm, use personal garages if they have them and look for other less restrictive on-street parking.
Q:  How will people learn about the travel options available to them?
Residents and transit riders should check the WMATA, goDCgo and DDOT websites, look for information at Metrorail stations, check local newspapers and other media outlets.  It would also be a good idea to sign up for MetroAlerts for additional real time information on rail service. Also follow social media @DDOTDC for updates.
Q:  What will the District be doing with its Circulator buses? 
The District is likely to start one or more Circulator routes at 6 am or to end them at 3 am to help commuters. DDOT is looking at other weekend and late night service changes that respond to the Safe Track service changes.  We will have more definitive news on these plans very soon.
Q: Will the District government be allowing enhanced telework options for employees to keep them off the roads? 
The DC Department of Human Resources is reviewing options for DC government employees.  DCHR is looking at employee residences by agency to carefully tailor plans to the needs of our employees and agencies. 
Q.  Will expanding the hours of the rush-hour no-parking restrictions encourage more people to drive? 
The District certainly is not encouraging people to drive into the District during the SafeTrack program, but some may opt to drive. Those who do should make plans to carpool.  We feel that expanding the no-parking restrictions will improve traffic flow on the shoulders of the rush hour peak, encourage drivers to modify their driving times and allow the expanded level of bus service to operate better.
Q.  How will these Surges affect tourist and DC tax revenue?
The District will be working closely with EventsDC, the hospitality industry, the Nationals and many others to make sure tourists have good options for getting around during the repair Surges.  Rail travel should be manageable during off-peak periods, in the evening and on weekends, too.  DC remains open throughout the repair period and we don’t want anyone to not come and visit or hold their events here during SafeTracks. We think the potential negative tax impacts are relatively minor.
Q.  How is WMATA paying for Safe Tracks and what will it cost the District? 
All of the jurisdictions have been included in conversations with WMATA’s CFO about the cost of Safe Tracks and the impact on fare revenue in the budget.  The additional capital costs will be funded through planned short term borrowing and the region will decide how this impacts future capital spending as part of the capital funding agreement discussions that will occur over the next 9 to 10 months. It is a bit too early to speculate on the impact of SafeTrack on WMATA’s operating budget. We know there will be a negative revenue impact and WMATA is looking at ways to manage their operating costs to try and offset some of this.  The regional funding partners and WMATA will have to revisit this issue in the fall when we have more information.