Rockville Metro closes for the semester


Photo via Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Passengers wait for their rides at the Rockville Metrobus shuttle station.

From Sept. 11- Dec. 4, the Rockville Metro station will be closed for construction, impacting many student and staff commuters. This construction is due to safety concerns with the canopy that sits over the station.  

The canopy, installed in 1979, was long due for repairs and will be demolished and reconstructed in a three-month-long process. The pre-construction process began in summer 2021, while the station was still in use.

In previous years, the Rockville Metro station had an average of 4,200 riders per weekday. A large percentage of those riders were students or teachers at RM or Montgomery College, or people who worked nearby in the town center, district or circuit courts, local restaurants and stores.

Shutdowns like these lead riders to resort to alternate modes of transportation, including private cars. Pre-pandemic, drivers in the DMV spent on average 102 hours in traffic delays each year, which will be exacerbated by a reduction in public transportation.

“This new platform canopy will have the same design as the old one,” said Colleen Martin, a reporter for the Bethesda Patch. Improvements include brighter and more efficient LED lighting, new public service announcement speakers, more passenger information displays and upgraded security cameras. 

WMATA, the Washington Metro Area Transportation Authority, has been investing in the maintenance and improvement of stations across the area. Four Green Line Metro stations opened back up after closures due to deteriorating conditions. Greenbelt, College Park, Prince George’s Plaza, and West Hyattsville opened back up to riders only four days before the closing of the Rockville station.

COVID-19 has impacted commuters’ willingness to take public transportation, but as businesses and offices begin to reopen this year, the number of people riding buses and the Metro have increased. From the beginning of Jan. 2021 to early Sept. 2021, daily Metro riders have almost doubled in size. The sudden and extended closure of the Rockville Metro station would rapidly scale back the number of riders passing through the fare gates.

Commuters, students and staff have been significantly impacted by the closing of the Rockville Metro station. “I have had to drive to work every single day since the offices opened back up. I’m not sure why this construction had to happen right as people started to return back to the office instead of over this summer,” said an employee from the Montgomery County District Courts, located in Rockville Town Center, who was severely impacted by the closing of the nearby station.