Apparently, WMATA is considering cutting late night and weekend service. Instead of running until 3:00 am on Friday and Saturday nights, trains would stop running at midnight (which in WMATA speak actually means 11:30).
This happens every time WMATA gets a new General Manager. In 2004 GM Richard White tried running two-car trains every 20 minutes at night. When John Catoe took over in 2007, he proposed replacing all late night rail service with bus shuttles. And now in 2011, under Richard Sarles, they’re considering eliminating late night rail altogether.
This is not acceptable. It exhibits a fundamental misunderstanding of what Metro means to this city. Metro isn’t a mere commuter operation. It’s the backbone of our transportation system. Without Metro, Washington doesn’t function. It doesn’t matter how much money might be saved by eliminating late-night service, that is simply not a negotiable option. It is not acceptable to the people of Washington, DC, and it should not be acceptable to WMATA.
It is part of Metro’s core service to provide urban mobility to the central city, including at night. If WMATA’s leadership fails to provide that core service, or fails to recognize its importance, then WMATA’s leadership will have to face serious questions about just what they think they’re supposed to be doing.
This isn’t a small issue. It’s not the place to trim costs. The answer is No. Find your money somewhere else.