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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / DC Metrorail removes operators from service over lack of recertification

DC Metrorail removes operators from service over lack of recertification

By | May 17, 2022

New service delays result as agency acknowledges more than half of train operators lack necessary training

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Rapid-transit train in underground statioin
Rapid-transit train in underground statioin
In the latest setback for the DC Metrorail system, 72 operators have been removed from service because of a lack of required recertification training. (Scott A. Hartley)

WASHINGTON — In the latest setback for the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority’s troubled Metrorail system, 72 train operators have been removed from service for failing to receive mandatory retraining for at least year, and the agency has acknowledged that at least half its 500 operators lack the requiring recertification testing and training.

Those removed have been without recertification since at least May 2021, the longest period for those not in compliance.

The Washington Post reports the resulting operator shortage will increase waiting times on Metro’s Green and Yellow lines, and may mean extra service to cover rush hours, breakdowns, and special events may be unavailable for several weeks.

WMATA Board Chairman Paul C. Smedberg said in a statement that the board found the situation “unacceptable and extremely disappointing,” and that the board wants “a full accounting” of how and why the problem developed and how it would be remedied.

The new issue comes on a system that has already had reduced operations since last October because more than half its railcar fleet is out of service because of a defect that led to a derailment [see “DC Metrorail 7000-series cars again removed from service,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 30, 2021].

A Metra spokeswoman told the Post that pandemic-related wavers were issued in 2020 because of social-distancing issues and because trainees had travel concerns. Such waivers should have ended in 2020, but “there were no checks and balances in place” to ensure the waivers did not extend beyond 30 days, spokeswoman Sherri Ly said.

Area government officials blasted the news, with Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeting that latest development is “disappointing” and reflects “a management problem,” while Maryland Del. Marc Korman (D-Montgomery Count) tweeted that the problem “demonstrates an inability to undertake even basic functions.”

7 thoughts on “DC Metrorail removes operators from service over lack of recertification

  1. One more proof that the COVID lockdowns and social distancing and travel restrictions did all sorts of harm for absolutely no benefit.

    Millions of people went to work every day in necessary occupations but safety instructors couldn’t travel????

  2. The Metro used to be the only sane way to get around DC. Now I wouldn’t dare set foot on one of their trains. Guess I won’t be visiting the nation’s Capitol any time in the foreseeable future. Nitwittery Incarnate.

  3. Why did it take so long to recognize this problem? And what are they doing about the other ones in need of certification? These operators are not professionals as they let their certification lapse. I am responsible for keeping my dental license current and I have done it for 40 years. One or two is understandable, but &)?

  4. The operators can’t recertify themselves. They can mention the problem to management but they can’t set up classes on their own

  5. WMATA is in Washington. I’m sure they have hired consultants to determine how they will conduct the “recertification testing and training.”

    BTW shouldn’t the training come BEFORE the testing? We’ll need another consultant to answer that!

    Preliminary report is due in early 2023.

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