October 2015 Public Meeting

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A text-only version can be found here.

WMATA Riders’ Union Demands Additional Interim Transit Service

The WMATA Riders’ Union on Friday demanded that WMATA provide additional rail and bus service in the face of recently-announced service disruptions that will last at least six months.

WMATARU has heard feedback from its members and riders that six months of delays across half of the Metrorail system is unacceptable. The leadership team agrees. WMATARU demands that the agency find a means of compensating for service delays that have and will continue to add thirty minutes or more to trips on the Silver, Orange, and Blue Lines, inconveniencing tens of thousands of riders.

WMATA announced to its board of directors on Friday that riders on the Silver, Orange, and Blue Lines would experience significant delays for the next six months as a result of a transformer fire at Stadium-Armory on Monday, September 21. As was explained to the board, rush hour headways will be increased to at least eight minutes between trains.

WMATARU appreciates that Metro has provided updates to the repair timeframe – substantially increased from earlier estimates of several weeks – and hopes that this open communication will continue as this and other system repairs move forward.

However, WMATARU demands that Metro institute creative interim solutions to mitigate the burden of riders as it makes needed repairs. Such solutions could include:

  • Institute express bus service mirroring the entire Silver, Orange, and Blue Lines over the next six months until a standard level of service is restored
  • Increase midday and evening frequencies to compensate for reduced peak-hour capacity, allowing riders to adjust commute schedules
  • Eliminate peak fares for the duration of reduced service
  • Continue to provide riders with regular and frequent updates on the progress of transformer replacement and service restoration

Many more options remain to alleviate the pains riders have and will continue to endure while necessary repairs are made. WMATARU Chair Ashley Robbins stated that, “While we appreciate the maintenance and repair of the system is essential to its health and dependability, the Metrorail system is essential to the region. Riders implore Metro to work with riders and do everything in its power to ease the inconvenience while we all endure the next several months of service repairs.”


Leadership Team Meeting #2

We’re Launching a Fundraising Drive!

The WMATA Riders’ Union (WMATARU) on Wednesday began an online fundraising campaign to allow members, Metro riders, and those who wish to support the organization financially a way to contribute to its efforts.

Donations can be made securely via credit card on GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/wmataru. We emphasize that donations are completely voluntary; the organization does not collect dues.

Our initial goal is $5,000. To demonstrate our commitment, the WMATARU leadership team has already kicked off the fundraising campaign by donating 10% of the starting goal.

Funds will be spent on various grassroots organizational needs including: overhead (website hosting, a PO Box, various filing fees including 501(c)3, meeting refreshments); communications (an electronic newsletter service, flyers); and branding and awareness (business cards, banners for community events).

We pledge that every dollar spent out of our fundraising account will be accounted for and posted to this website, in keeping with the promise of transparency we made to our members and constituent riders.

The interest and support that WMATARU has received so far has exceeded our most fervent hopes and expectations. Now we ask for your help in continuing to grow the organization by donating if possible.

WMATA Riders Demand Transparency, Communications, and Fare Credit

The WMATA Riders’ Union (WMATARU) on Wednesday called for Metro to refund Silver, Orange and Blue Line riders who used the system the morning of Monday, September 21, as well as Yellow and Green Line Riders who used the system the evening of Tuesday, September 22, due to excessive delays and substandard levels of service.

Metro has automatically credited fares to the SmarTrip cards for users of the system in the past, most recently in August when service disruptions on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines left passengers stranded. The WMATA Riders’ Union implores Metro to once again refund passengers who have paid peak fares for service that falls short of the standard set for peak commutes.

The WMATA Riders’ Union demands Metro be transparent when future service issues arise and communicate with riders both the cause of service disruptions and how they will be addressed to prevent recurrences in the future. A robust communication strategy along with transparency as to the causes of these issues are key as the agency works to resolve the ongoing service disruptions plaguing the system. Riders understand that there is work that will need to be done, but it is crucial the Metro be open with the public as it works to restore the rail system to a level of service that is once again dependable.

The WMATA Riders’ Union believes Metro promptly issuing refunds for the service delays this week would help to restore goodwill while creating a culture of transparency and open communication with riders and will renew faith in the Authority. The WMATA Riders’ Union will stand with riders to represent their concerns constructively and proactively with Metro as we work together to ensure that Metro works for all of us.

A Message from WMATARU on WMATA Employees

Today, the WMATA Riders’ Union announces that it will welcome employees of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority as members.

The former policy of exclusion was based on a desire to remain independent of outside influence. We still plan to remain independent. We also have no desire or intent to represent WMATA employees in any labor union capacity. But many WMATA employees are just as passionate and dedicated to improving the Metro experience as are regular riders (and indeed, many are one and the same). We have heard a sincere desire from a number of employees to contribute to WMATARU’s mission of improving the riding experience, and we see no reason to discourage them from joining and adding their expertise to our collective capability. To that end, we will allow WMATA employees to join the Riders’ Union, effective immediately.

This was a contested issue within our membership, and we are grateful for the thoughtful opinions expressed by members. But with WMATARU consisting of transit advocates and riders drawn from regular ridership and the industry itself, we will be a stronger, more informed organization for it. Our members are passionate and enthusiastic and we hope to harness that energy and use it for the betterment of WMATA’s transit operations across the region.


The WMATA Riders’ Union represents the interests of the riders of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s bus, rail, and MetroAccess services. The Rider’s Union is an independent organization that cooperates with community groups, the media, elected officials, and WMATA employees, managers, and directors to ensure that the concerns of the riding public are heard and addressed proactively and constructively. The Rider’s Union operates on a democratic and consensus-driven basis, and its actions are intended to benefit all WMATA riders.

VIDEO: Frustrated Metro Riders Form ‘Union’ to Push for Improvements (NBCWashington)

VIDEO: Frustrated Metro riders to create “Riders Union” (ABC7)

VIDEO: Our first Organizers’ Meeting – 9/9/2015

The Membership Drive is ON!

Now that we’ve agreed on what we want to be (Mission Statement and Goals are up in the About section!) we’re ready to start accepting members!

The JOIN WMATARU page at the top of the website will take you to the membership form.

Joining The WMATA Riders’ Union as a member is critical to our success. Your membership allows us to go to WMATA, politicians, the media, etc and say we’re working to fix an issue on behalf of our membership – which totals [x] riders in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. It simply can’t be emphasized enough that we need riders to join so we can do our job of representing you.

Over 250 people completed the web form we had up previously to get updates as we formed the group. Our Twitter account has over 1100 followers! All of these are fantastic and we appreciate the confidence shown by the WMATA ridership in getting this group formed. Now we need that same kind of turnout, or better, in our membership drive.

Thank you again for your support and for allowing us to work for you!

Chris, Ashley, Graham, Roger, and Pat