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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery Council President and Transportation Committee Join WMATA Officials to Mark End of Metro Red Line Turnbacks

For Immediate Release: Monday, July 1, 2019

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 1, 2019—This morning Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro, Transportation and Environment (T&E) Committee Chair Councilmember Tom Hucker, Councilmembers Evan Glass and Hans Riemer of the T&E Committee, and Councilmember Will Jawando joined officials from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) at the Wheaton Metro Station to mark the end of Metro’s Red Line turnbacks from Silver Spring. Since 1990, WMATA has stopped every other Red Line train at Silver Spring and turned it back to Washington D.C. The Red Line will now go the entire length of its route on every journey.

WMATA ended a similar turnback policy at the other end of the Red Line, at the Grosvenor-Strathmore station, in December 2018. The goal of this policy reversal is to increase service and ridership and reduce wait-times for people transiting to the end of the Red Line. The decision follows Councilmember Hucker’s January Town Hall meeting in which he joined WMATA board members and residents to discuss turnbacks and other Metro service issues. Community members voiced strong support for a return of full service to the eastern end of the Red Line.

Councilmembers were joined at this morning’s press conference by representatives from WMATA, Friends of Forest Glen, Montgomery County Renters Alliance, Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, Montgomery Housing Partnership, Montgomery County Sierra Club and Maryland State Delegates from District 18 Al Carr, Emily Shetty and Jared Solomon. Al Roshdieh, director of Montgomery County Department of Transportation, spoke on behalf of the County Executive.

“The issue of ending Metro turnbacks has been one of critical importance for residents in Montgomery County,” said Council President Nancy Navarro. “Particularly for my constituents, many of whom rely upon public transit as their sole means of transportation, and who have had to endure years of unpredictability in their daily commutes. As we strive to make transit more accessible, reliability, frequency and convenience become even more important. Today’s celebration represents the culmination of a decade of advocacy by residents of this community and diligent work by the Council in engaging WMATA on this issue, so I am happy to stand with the community in recognizing this huge accomplishment.”

“Ending the Silver Spring turnback was only fair and just for the 11,000 Metro riders on the eastern end of the Red Line, who for decades have been paying the same fares as everyone else, but received only half the service,” said Councilmember Hucker. “It is gratifying to see the years-long advocacy efforts of our community groups, Metro board representatives and the Council finally pay off.”

“I am delighted that WMATA is running all Red Line trains during peak hours to Glenmont, rather than turning half of the trains back at Silver Spring. The service increase will be a big improvement for Wheaton and Silver Spring residents. Metro’s decision follows on the same expansion last year on the Shady Grove side, which was a big win for North Bethesda, Rockville, Gaithersburg and the whole Upcounty,” said Councilmember Riemer. “We need to continue working together as a region to invest in Metro expansion. Metro could run eight-car trains rather than six-car trains, and run trains more frequently, including on the weekends when ridership has dropped severely. Thanks to our Maryland board members and leadership, and let’s keep pressing ahead.”

“As an avid user of our public transportation system, I am excited to mark the official end of the turnback for Metro’s Red Line riders, which means that riders will no longer have to wait in extreme weather when transferring trains,” said Councilmember Glass. “With today’s announcement, I look forward to working with the community and my colleagues to ensure that our public transportation continues moving forward – we cannot ‘turnback’ progress.”

“Tens of thousands of East County residents don’t have to try to drive or bus to Silver Spring during rush hour to use Metro,” said Councilmember Jawando. “We now have a reliable and regular service along all of our local stations including Glenmont, Wheaton and Forest Glen stations. I am confident that reduced wait times and improved service will draw higher numbers of riders off the roads and on to Metro.”

press-conference

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Release ID: 19-235
Media Contact: Dave Kunes 240-777-7970 , Bob Rand 240-777-7937