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You Said It: Chiming in on the Silver Line

by Karen Goff June 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm 0

Sign at Reston StationReston Now readers had a lot to say about Metro’s Silver Line this week.

Metro is in a 90-day training and testing period for the 11-mile rail extension that will run to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue. But with no opening date set — and Metro’s frustration with Dulles Transit Partners’ progress on post-operational readiness repairs — potential riders in our community are getting restless.

Here is what reader commented on Reston Now this week:

I am a patron of transit services in the WDC area. I have also been an activist for better transit service in the WDC area. I am a prospective patron of the Silver Line. I have been more and more exasperated with the cost overruns and particularly the delays of the Silver Line.

DTP [Dulles Transit Partners] and Bechtel are behind schedule on half the items,” Metro deputy general manager Rob Troup said in a conference call with reporters on Monday. “We expected them to be further along.” (Monday June 9th 2014.)

Mr. [Metro Deputy GM Rob] Troup said that only 4 items on the punch list have been closed out or done so far.

I am downright angry now.

I’ve a good mind to go Bechtel’s Reston Office and demand to talk with
someone in charge re: the foot-dragging by them and the contractor on part one of the Silver Line.

I demand that WMATA obtain a schedule of work to be done on the Silver Line from Bechtel and the contractor and then pressure Bechtel and the contractor to pick up the pace on the finishing work on the Silver Line. … I am growing impatient. My patience is limited. I want to ride the Silver Line into Washington by August 7th. This to me is non-negotiable.

Beware my wrath in September if the Silver Line is not up and running safely. I know how to organize people and I’ll organize protests. Picketing, Street-Theatre and an invasion of Bechtel’s Reston office.

Said another reader:

I’m still trying to figure out if the Silver Line “opening” is a joke, a mirage, or a nightmare.

There was also concern over the cost commuters will pay if they take the Silver Line to downtown DC daily. Advocacy group Reston 2020 analyzed what commuters will pay and found a large increase from the current system of taking a Fairfax Connector bus to a Blue/Orange line station.

Among the comments:

So my commute now costs $5 more per day and it’ll still take me 45 minutes to get to work. Tell me why this is a good idea again?

Also:

  • If you did Reston to Metro Center via the Toll Road, that would cost you $3.50 in tolls plus $6.50 in gas each way — $20 a day. Thus a key question would be whether your employer provided free parking or not. If it did then one might well prefer to drive rather than use the $16.55 public transit option or certainly the $20.45 option.

  • As a Reston-to-downtown commuter it is disappointing because I know that my overall commute will also be longer as a result of the rerouted buses to Wiehle Ave Station and the longer Metro ride. I get to pay 40% more to spend 30% to 40% more of my time in transit.

  • This is proving to be one more government project that over promises and under delivers. Mass transit was sold as safe, reliable, and economical!?!?! These costs hide the general revenues, toll road fees, and other costs we have already incurred.

The $2.9 billion Silver Line Phase I is more than six months behind schedule. Phase II design work is underway. That phase, which will run from Wiehle Avenue to Reston Parkway, Herndon and Dulles International Airport, among other stops, is slated to open in 2018.

One report, citing union sources, has Phase I slated to open July 28. Metro officials have not confirmed that, however.

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