transit options for essential employees
Public transportation service in the DC metro area is ever-changing, as new regulations on social distancing are being released. The general public should stay at home and only venture outside for essential trips. Essential trips include travel for medical providers and hospital staff, critical government functions, and individuals helping with COVID-19 response to the community.
Transit systems in the area are encouraging the public to either walk or use another form of transportation for essential trips if possible, but to otherwise practice social distancing. See below for how the transit systems that service Arlington, Virginia are changing.
Metrorail and Metrobus service
WMATA Recovery Plan Update (05/11/2020):
Metro released information regarding its Covid-19 pandemic recovery plan, detailing a flexible blueprint for resuming service while focusing on customers and employees safety and well-being. The plan will comprise of four phases: stabilization, managed re-entry, recovery, and resilience.
During the stabilization period this summer, Metro will take advantage of low ridership to perform repairs, maintenance, and upgrades to select stations. Track work will be announced weeks in advance. The first week-long track shutdown is currently targeted for June 7-13 at L'Enfant Plaza, Waterfront, and Navy Yard stations.
Read Metro's full announcement here.
WMATA Platform Improvement Project Update (04/23/2020):
Due to low ridership numbers and traffic-free highways, Metro announced plans to begin work on a separate project on the Silver Line to connect Metrorail to the new "phase II" stations, which are being constructed by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).
There will be no service on the Silver Line from Memorial Day weekend through the fall. Read WMATA's full announcement to learn more.
Service Update (04/16/2020):
West Falls Church Station will be closed on Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19 as in preparation for this summer's Platform Improvement Project.
Orange Line trains will share a single track between West Falls Church and Vienna, with trains running every 36 minutes.
All other lines will be operating according to Metrorail's current schedule during the pandemic. Metro is open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekends. For more information, read WMATA's full press release.
Service Update (04/06/2020):
Beginning on Monday, April 6, Metrorail and Metrobus will be altering their service hours.
- Metrorail will end service with station closures at 9:00 p.m.
- Metrobus will end last trips beginning near 11:00 p.m.
These end of service hours will continue 7-days per week until further notice. Read WMATA's announcement here.
Service Update (04/03/2020):
WMATA will operate significantly reduced rail and bus service on Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5. Customers traveling this weekend should expect wait times of up to 30 minutes between buses and trains on the same line.
Metrorail will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Metrobus service will also end at 11:00 p.m. First bus times vary by route. To ensure adequate social distancing and preserve customers' health and safety, bus operators may bypass bus stops if the vehicle cannot safely accommodate additional passengers.
Read WMATA's full announcement for this weekend's services for more information.
Service Update (03/30/2020):
WMATA will operate 8-car Metrorail trains to encourage social distancing for those using the system for essential travel. Beginning March 30, the first and last cars will be closed and passengers can board from any of the center cars. This is to limit the operator's exposure to passengers as a heightened precaution. See more information here.
Service Update (03/26/2020):
This weekend, WMATA will be operating Metrorail trains every 30 minutes to the stations that are open for essential travel. If you are feeling unwell, do not take public transportation. Call your healthcare provider first and follow their guidelines.
Metrobus service is also reduced to 26 routes. Metrobus 16C – Columbia Pike, Metrobus 28A – Leesburg Pike, Metrobus 29K – Alexandria – Fairfax, and Metrobus 29N – Alexandria – Fairfax are the only routes that will service near Arlington. See here for the full list of Metrobuses in operation this weekend for essential travel only.
Service Update (03/25/2020):
Beginning March 26,2020, Metro will be closing the East Falls Church, Viriginia Square, and Clarendon Metro Stations.
Riders using ART 41, 42, 55, and 77 will not be able to access Metrorail from these stations. Learn more at WMATA.com.
Service Update (O3/23/2020):
A directive to use Metro services for only essential trips was announced by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) on March 13, 2020. Between March 23, 2020 to March 27, 2020, WMATA is further limiting public usage of Metrorail and Metrobus to essential travel by limiting frequency and stops.
Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations will remain closed until further notice to keep non-essential cherry blossom travel off the rail system at this time of national emergency.
Metrorail lines will service every 20 minutes, while stops with multiple lines like the Rosslyn Metro Station are running trains every 7-10 minutes. Metrobuses are operating on a Sunday schedule and riders are required to enter from the rear door. Metrobus rides are free at this time to limit the need to tap SmarTrips on the farebox at the front of the bus.
All subscription trips remain canceled. Please limit all travel to only the most essential.
ART Bus service
Arlington Transit is also reducing service and implementing Saturday schedules for these lines:
- ART Bus 41 Columbia Pike - Ballston - Courthouse
- ART Bus 42 Ballston - Pentagon (terminating at the Pentagon instead of Pentagon City)
- ART Bus 43 Courthouse - Rosslyn - Crystal City (every 20 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on its weekday route)
- ART Bus 45 Columbia Pike - DHS/Sequoia - Rosslyn (starts service at 6:30 a.m.)
- ART Bus 51 Ballston - Virginia Hospital Center
- ART Bus 55 East Falls Church - Lee Highway - Rosslyn
- ART Bus 77 Shirlington - Lyon Park - Courthouse
- ART Bus 87 Pentagon Metro - Army Navy Drive - Shirlington (terminating at the Pentagon instead of Pentagon City)
Riders should enter from the rear door for the safety of ART bus drivers. Bus fare will not be collected at this time and it is not necessary to pass the farebox at the front of the bus. Riders who need to use the wheelchair ramp can use the front entrance.
Specialized Transit for Arlington Residents (STAR) is running on its normal schedule, but should be used for essential trips only. Service will be monitored on a daily basis and may be subject to change.
Commuter Trains and Buses
VRE: As of March 17, due to falling ridership, VRE has been running an "S" schedule on each of its two lines, Fredericksburg and Manassas. There will be only eight trains in service—four inbound each morning and four outbound each afternoon. Read more about VRE service changes here.
MARC: As of March 17, only "R" trains will operate, supplemented by additional trains on the Penn and Brunswick lines. Find out more about service updates on the MARC train here.
AMTRAK: As of March 16, Amtrak has been operating at 40% of their typical Northeast Corridor schedules. In addition to reduced service on the Acela trains from New York City to Washington, the cafe car will be closed on some trips between the two cities as well. Amtrak will also wave change fees on existing and new reservations made before April 30, 2020. Find out more on Amtrak's website.
Fairfax Connector is still running on a normal schedule. Fare collection is temporarily suspended and riders are required to enter and exit the bus using the rear doors. This does not apply to riders who need to use a wheelchair ramp. Stay up to date on Fairfax Connector status here.
DC Circulator: As of April 7, the DC Circulator will operate weekdays from 6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. and weekends between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Passengers will ride for free and are asked to board and exit through the rear of the bus. Persons who require wheelchair services will continue to board at the front door. Read more about the DC Circulator service changes.
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