WMATA SafeTrack


SafeTrack is WMATA’s expedited maintenance plan to replace significant portions of the system’s rails, fix numerous safety problems, and bring the Metrorail system closer to a state of good repair.

The Metrorail system is 40 years old and needs massive repairs. Today, trains run in service 135 to 168 hours each week, leaving little time for comprehensive maintenance.

The SafeTrack plan, expected to cost about $60 million, will squeeze in work which would otherwise take three years to do at current rates, including clearing some urgent NTSB safety recommendations.

Throughout SafeTrack, the Coalition for Smarter Growth will work to keep you up to date on the latest SafeTrack developments and news, provide information on transportation alternatives, and help you get involved to speak up for ways we can make Metro — and transit in our region more broadly — better.

Jump to:
 WMATA’s Resource Page for Current Surge | SafeTrack schedule | CSG advocacy and emails | Alternative travel resources[clear][/box]

Today’s current SafeTrack status

View today’s current SafeTrack status | Alternative travel resources

The Orange Line segment between the New Carrollton and Stadium-Armory stations will be shutdown between May 16th – June 15th. Orange Line trains will operate every 6-8 minutes between Vienna and Largo Town Center, while Silver Line trains will operate every 12-20 minutes between Wiehle-Reston East and Stadium-Armory stations. Expect more crowding on Orange and Silver Line trains.

To follow and plan for future SafeTrack Surges, use this calendar.


WMATA’s current SafeTrack surge updates


Additional ongoing SafeTrack service changes

In addition to current SafeTrack operations, for the duration of SafeTrack, the following regular service changes are in effect:

  • Metro service now ends nightly at midnight, including Friday and Saturday nights.[clear]


When will I be impacted?

There will be 15 work “surges.” Some involve shutting segments of the system down entirely for a week or two. Others involve continuous single-tracking for multiple weeks (as much as 44 days), which means single-tracking even during rush hours.

These “Surges” will affect riders beyond these zones. Outside the single-tracking or shutdown areas, the capacity of each line will still be reduced, so there will be fewer trains on any lines that run across that segment.



SafeTrack transportation alternatives, mitigation, & resources

As of yet, there is no one, official, and centralized resource center for regional residents on SafeTrack alternatives and resources. The Coalition for Smarter Growth is endeavoring to keep this list we’ve collected as up-to-date and complete as possible. If you have additions or corrections to offer, please send us an email at action@smartergrowth.net. [line]

Alternatives during Surge #15

Surge #15 in WMATA’s ongoing SafeTrack maintenance plan will shut down the Orange Line segment between the New Carrollton and Stadium-Armory stations between May 16th-June 15th.  Orange Line trains will operate every 6-8 minutes between Vienna and Largo Town Center, while Silver Line trains will operate every 12-20 minutes between Wiehle-Reston East and Stadium-Armory. Expect crowding on both the Orange and Silver Lines.

  • See WMATA’s travel alternatives page and list of existing and additional bus alternatives.
  • Bus: Free express shuttle buses will connect riders from the affected stations (New Carrollton, Landover, Cheverly, Deanwood, and Minnesota Avenue) to the Blue Line. Additionally, limited shuttle buses will connect the five stations between Stadium-Armory and New Carrollton every 30 minutes. The express buses will connect as follows:
    • Minnesota Avenue to Stadium-Armory
    • Deanwood to Capitol Heights
    • Cheverly to Morgan Boulevard
    • Landover and New Carrollton to Morgan Boulevard
  • Rail: The Blue Line will continue to operate as normal between Largo Town Center and Franconia-Springfield. Customers who normally park and ride at New Carrollton may want to consider parking at Greenbelt (on the Green Line) or Addison Road (on the Blue Line) stations to start their journey. Customers who travel between New Carrollton and downtown Washington DC may want to consider taking the MARC Penn Line and connecting to Metro at Union Station.
  • Bike: Capital Bikeshare is still offering $2 single-trip fares. Washington Area Bicyclist Association is providing maps and signs for bike routes as an alternative to Metrorail. Signs specific to this Surge will be posted on bike trails and around Metrorail stations.
  • Carpool/Carsharing: Commuter Connections serves to bring together potential carpoolers (see more information below).


Transit & local bus service alternatives

Many local jurisdictions in the DC region that are served by WMATA also run locally-provided bus service. In some instances, local transit service alternatives may be an important part of alternate commutes during SafeTrack.

DC Circulator  |  Montgomery County Ride On  |  Prince George’s The Bus  |  Arlington ART  | Metroway BRT (Arlington/Alexandria)Alexandria DASH  |  Fairfax County Connector  |  Fairfax City’s CUE  [line]

Park & Ride and commuter bus options

For those commuting into DC from longer distances, numerous commuter bus systems directly connect local Park & Ride facilities with downtown employment centers. The major locations served by these commuter bus operators include:


Commuter rail options

The DC region’s two commuter rail systems can provide an excellent transit alternative during Metro repair work. In particular, VRE provides direct service for Blue and Yellow Line commuters who normally travel to L’Enfant Plaza, Crystal City, King Street, or Franconia-Springfield, while MARC trains connect to the Red Line at Rockville and Silver Spring, the Green Line at Greenbelt and College Park, and the Orange Line at New Carrollton. Both systems operate out of Union Station in the center of DC.


Bicycling resources

Capital Bikeshare is undertaking a number of efforts to make bikeshare a go-to option for those affected by SafeTrack safety surges and service changes:

  • Single trip fare: Capital Bikeshare offers a Single-Trip Fare that allows travelers to take a single ride for as low as $2 for trips under 30 minutes. Single-Trip Fares will be available at stations with a credit or debit card. Rides under 30 minutes will cost $2 and normal 24-hour pass usage fees apply for each subsequent 30 minutes of ride time. This pass will be offered for a limited time during the SafeTrack repair program.
  • More stations, bikes, and docks: CaBi is also installing new stations and expanding key stations on an accelerated timetable to provide additional bikes and docks in affected areas. They have also added 250 bikes to the fleet to increase availability across the system.
  • Corral service: Corral service provides bikeshare users with guaranteed Bikeshare parking at staffed stations. Capital Bikeshare is adding new corral service as follows:
    • 17th St & K St NW in Farragut Square (8am – 12pm weekdays)
    • 21st St & I St NW (8am – 12pm weekdays)
    • 13th St & New York Ave NW (8am – 12pm weekdays)

Bike convoys and resources: WABA is providing local and express “bike train” convoys during SafeTrack maintenance surges, as well as area bicycle route maps, classes, events, and other resources.  Detailed information is available on a surge-by-surge basis at the WABA SafeTrack hub.

Bike resources by jurisdiction: The following jurisdictional governments provide maps, safety tips, and other helpful information for local cyclists on their websites.


Carpooling, vanpooling, ridesharing and slugging

Commuter Connections: Commuter Connections is a regional resource maintained by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and is meant to facilitate ridesharing and alternative commuting in the DC region. Their services include the following:

  • A registration page to sign up for Commuter Connections and begin ridesharing.
  • Guaranteed Ride Home provides carpool, transit, bike, and walking commuters with a safe and reliable way to get home in the case of emergencies.
  • A SafeTrack plan with links to additional jurisdictional resources.

Sluglines: “Slugging,” or casual carpooling, is an informal ridesharing arrangement that originated in the DC area in the mid-1970s. Several services exist to connect drivers and potential slugging passengers:

Uber Pool: Uber Pool is launching an initiative during SafeTrack called “Pooling Together,” which aims to expand Uber Pool’s service area and cut costs to customers. More information can be found at the Uber Pool website.

Carpool Services: The following carpool services help to simplify the process of ridesharing by facilitating connections between commuters, often using web-based or mobile apps.

Vanpool Services: Vanpooling is yet another way to cut down on the cost and environmental impact of car commuting, and is accomplished by sharing a hired van with several commuters with similar origin and destination points. WMATA’s website lists the contact information for hundreds of Vanpool services serving DC, Maryland, and Virginia:


Parking restrictions

PCN parking restrictions mpaThe District Department of Transportation has announced that it will implement emergency parking restrictions beginning June 6, extending AM and PM weekday rush hour restrictions by 30 minutes on certain bus priority corridors, including:

  • M Street
  • Pennsylvania Avenue
  • Washington Circle
  • H and I Streets

As well as adjacent roadways that are connected to the corridor. See the full map issued by DDOT here.

Temporary signs will be posted to notify motorists of the emergency parking restrictions. DDOT will implement similar measures for each phase of repairs being conducted by WMATA over the next year. [clear][line]

Employer guides

Greater Washington Board of Trade: The Board of Trade has released several resources for regional businesses during SafeTrack, including an employer guide and checklist, an employee guide and checklist, and best practices from leading companies. BOT has also arranged a private match for vanpooling, available to Board of Trade member companies’ employees.

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments: MWCOG maintains Commuter Connections, a regional resource with information on existing carpool matching, guaranteed ride home, and other services. Commuter Connections is also maintaining a SafeTrack hub page. [topline][clear][/box]