Word on the Hill
Welcome back from recess and to more Metro track work

More cars on the highway? Metro ridership went down this year by 7.4 million rides in North Virginia, recent figures show. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Welcome back and a belated Happy Labor Day.

As airports are full of members returning to Washington from the August recess, staffers are stuck on the "Safe Tracking" Metro. But good news — if you're stuck at one of six Metro stations, you can track how late you are thanks to free Wi-Fi.

Metro Shutdown from Eastern Market to Minnesota Avenue Begins Saturday
Shuttle buses will run between the metro stops during planned 16-day closing

A Metro trains stops at the Capitol South station. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Orange, Blue and Silver line Metro riders should expect a 16-day shutdown of the rail lines between Eastern Market and Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road starting Saturday.  

Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld announced on Thursday the second of 15 planned shutdowns and single-tracking plans for the transit system as part of its SafeTrack plan . Free shuttle buses will be available between stations that are closed for track work.  

What You Missed: House Hearing on Metro Safety and Reliability

The House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee held a hearing Tuesday to address the D.C. Metro’s recent safety and reliably issues.

“The federal government has invested billions in Metro, yet the system is not safe and is not reliable,” Rep. Sam Graves said. “Congress cannot legislate communication or buy WMATA a safety culture.”

Metro Fires 20 Managers, Calls for Better Accountability
Restructuring comes a day after release of final plan for subway repairs

Metro's general manager fired 20 managers Friday including seven senior managers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Metro General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld fired 20 managers from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority on Friday citing the need to "improve effectiveness and accountability."   

The fired managers include seven senior managers. The names of the departing individuals were not released.   

Systemic Failures Cited in Deadly Smoke Incident on D.C. Metro Train
Agency sent passenger trains full of commuters into smoke-filled tunnel in 2015

A Silver Line Metro train pulls into Capitol South Metro station on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Trains filled with rush-hour passengers were sent to investigate reports of smoke pouring from a Washington Metro subway car last year that killed a commuter inside a tunnel near one of the city's busiest stations, federal safety investigators concluded on Tuesday.  

The National Transportation Safety Board was sharply critical of the Washington-area transit agency's handling of the debacle in January 2015, the most serious in a string of mechanical, operational and managerial failures that have plagued the nation's second-busiest subway system.  

Members to D.C. Metro Manufacturer: Don’t Make Us Look Bad

Connolly rode the 7000-series train in April. Beyer and Comstock were also along for the ride. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In an effort to keep funding and confidence in the system secure, a bipartisan group of D-M-V lawmakers are asking the manufacturer of Metro's new trains to provide regular updates to the system regarding production of the next-generation cars.  

The 7000-series car, which now operates on the Red, Orange, Blue and Green lines, has had issues with metal curing, car assembly and IT systems, according to a letter members sent to Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries. “Any delay in delivery of the cars would undermine our efforts to keep this funding on track,” House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Reps. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., Don Beyer Jr., D-Va., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Barbara Comstock, R-Va., Donna Edwards, D-Md., John Delaney, D-Md., John Sarbanes, D-Md., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., wrote on Feb. 10.