WMATA May Subsidize Late-Night Workers' Rides

According to the transit agency, the program is intended to benefit overnight workers affected by changes in Metrorail's operating hours to support improved maintenance, safety, and reliability. Eligible workers are primarily in the hospitality and health care industries.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, known locally as Metro, recently issued a request for proposals to provide subsidized on-demand transportation for late-night workers during during hours when Metrorail is closed. Under a one-year pilot program, Metro would subsidize trips taken with ride-hailing or taxi companies during late-night hours to support more cost-effective options for eligible workers, primarily in the hospitality and health care industries.

The on-demand service will be offered seven days a week for trips within Metro's service area between midnight and 4 a.m. Metro would pay the first $3 of the fare, up to a maximum of 10 trips per week per registered rider. The budget for the one-year pilot will be capped at $1 million. Responses from prospective vendors are due April 10, and the program could begin as soon as this summer. The pilot results will be reviewed to determine whether to extend the program beyond one year.

According to the transit agency, the program is intended to benefit overnight workers affected by changes in Metrorail's operating hours to support improved maintenance, safety, and reliability. "The system is safer and more reliable today as a result of the robust preventive maintenance work we are doing during those critical overnight hours," said Metro General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. "At the same time, we understand that Metro is a vital link for many late-night workers. That’s why we are looking at innovative ways to provide affordable transportation for workers while balancing our commitment to safety."

The agency reported that Metrorail reliability has been near record highs for the past two months, with more than nine in 10 trips arriving on time and unscheduled track disruptions down 75 percent in the second half of 2018 from the prior year.

At least 29 transit agencies or cities across the country are considering or have partnered with ride-hailing or taxi services as transportation alternatives, the agency reported.

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