D.C. Metrorail system shortages grow as ridership increases

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By Hanna Zakharenko, Capital News Service The scale of the D.C. metro system shortage is a little hard to see. Metro ridership struggles to reach what it used to be pre-pandemic and trains are more crowded, according to Metro officials. The reason? Metro officials say ridership has been increasing at a rate that has outpaced the current number of available trains. In Fall 2021, a 7000-series train derailed on the Blue Line in Arlington, Va., leading to a National Transportation Safety Board investigation that took all the 7000-series trains off the tracks due to issues with their wheels. This left Metro with only around 40 percent of their fleet operable, and coupled with ridership losses from the pandemic and construction on multiple lines, the trains have yet to reach pre-pandemic levels. When trains were taken off the tracks, rail schedules changed to accommodate over half the fleet being inoperable, but did not prove a large issue because of the small number of people riding the trains during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with a recent rise in ridership and only 20 of the 7000-series trains allowed on the tracks each day until recently, the metro system shortage is starting to show...