DC Metro is first transit system in US to announce coronavirus service cuts

The DC Metro will run reduced service next week to slow the spread of coronavirus, officials said Friday.

The move makes DC the first city in the country to reduce its service in response to the outbreak.

Starting Monday, its weekday trains will run every 12 minutes and buses will operate on a Saturday schedule, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority said in a statement.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that DC transit leadership was weighing strategies to keep the system running if employees or their family members contract the virus.

On Friday, agency officials said administrative employees would be required to work from home “to minimize social distancing, a require mitigation to slow the spread of the disease.”

The decision to reduce service was made “recognizing that many of Metro’s frontline employees are faced with tough choices as they balance work with their family priorities,” the statement said.

Like other transit agencies across the country, the DC Metro has seen ridership decline as more people seek to avoid close contact with others.

The second largest subway system in the country typically handles more than 600,000 riders per day. On Wednesday, there were 100,000 fewer rides than the same day last year.

New York City’s 7 million rider-plus transit system has also seen a significant ridership dip, impacting the agency’s fiscal bottom line.

New York officials have not said whether they plan to reduce service.

“If ridership goes down significantly, that gives us farebox issues,” MTA buses and subways chief Sarah Feinberg said in a radio interview Thursday. “I’m not sure we’re in a different position than any other agency of our type in the country.”

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