The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) provided an update on service improvements that includes better on-time performance and fewer unscheduled delays.
WMATA credits the progress on new railcars, improved maintenance programs and scheduled enhancements, all positive trends it says show the passenger rail providers is meeting its commitment to move its system “back to good.”
“Our customers will determine when we are ultimately back to good, but I am confident we are on the way,” said General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld. “I am very proud of the thousands of [WMATA] employees who are working day and night to improve safety and service for our customers.”
WMATA’s railcar “Get Well” program — an intensive maintenance program to address issues with the system’s “legacy” fleets — along with its infrastructure rebuilding under SafeTrack, which concluded in June, and a new preventive maintenance plan for infrastructure, have all contributed to reductions in delays. In addition, WMATA is testing new methods to address the issue of water infiltration a historically troublesome stretch of the Red Line.
WMATA says that during the first seven months of this year, compared to the same period last year:
- Railcar reliability is up more than 50 percent
- Offloads are down 40 percent
- Fire and smoke incidents are down 20 percent
- Arcing incidents are down 11 percent
WMATA also reported significant improvement in on-board passenger comfort and a steep decline in “hot cars,” with HVAC systems performing nearly 60 percent better in July 2017 compared to July 2016.
WMATA says its turnaround has been driven by the largest-ever annual capital investment in the system. The record $1.16 billion in capital spent last fiscal year, including $700 million in federal grant reimbursements, led to improved track infrastructure, railcar reliability and escalator performance. Each month, another 20 new 7000-series railcars arrive, with 50 of the new 7000-series trains (400 railcars) now in service.
WMATA also notes that it is showing signs of financial stability as it approaches the one-year mark of launching the Back2Good initiative.
“[WMATA] is clearly on a path to improving service for customers and we are committed to continuing the progress,” Wiedefeld said.