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Metro starts information campaign on rail work

WASHINGTON — Tired of broken Metro escalators? Bothered by constant rail work and other inconveniences?

Metro officials unveiled a new information campaign Thursday aimed at keeping riders up to speed about an ongoing effort to rebuild the 35-year-old transit system.

The goal is to help commuters understand that inconveniences they’re encountering now should pay off later with an improved rail system. Metro says it’s investing more than $5 billion over the next six years in more than 100 projects, including renovating 12 Metro rail stations, replacing 100 Metrobuses and rehabilitating 100 more, purchasing new police radios and fixing up three bus garages.

Metro says it’s relying on social networks and a redesigned homepage,, to spread the word about the ongoing capital campaign. There will also be a Facebook page and Twitter feed as part of the campaign, dubbed “Metro Forward.”

The information push will be rolled out throughout the summer, starting with a five-fact presentation that includes tidbits such as how many miles of rail — 60 — are being replaced. A special section on the website acknowledges a problem that has bedeviled Metro customers recently: Roughly 150 escalators at 25 different stations are in the lengthy process of being either replaced or overhauled.

“Over 100 new projects provide you with a better ride, better system and better experience,” Metro’s general manager and chief executive, Richard Sarles, said in a videotaped message on the website.

The campaign was announced as part of National “Dump the Pump Day,” which encourages travelers to use public transit instead of their cars to save money.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority operates in the District of Columbia and neighboring Maryland and Virginia communities, serving a population of 3.4 million and providing about 1.5 million trips per year.