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Metro announces new initiatives for 2015

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(WJLA) - Since Metro cars are run by drivers, a trip on the rail can be bumpy, jerky, and jarring.

The occasional rough rides arrived several years ago with the return of manual operation -- after the deadly collision near Fort Totten Station that killed nine and injured dozens in June 2009, Metro put the brakes on automation.

"Starting next month, we will begin some non-revenue testing in a very controlled environment of automated train operation," said Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel.

A possible return to automation is among a roster of initiatives aimed at pleasing Metro passengers, and on the to-do list for fiscal year of 2015. Also on the list is rehabilitation for more than two dozen escalators and to install 15 brand new escalators.

"It will be nice not to have to walk up an entire escalator like Dupont," said passenger Meghan Hogan.

Metro also intends to fix about a dozen elevators that are frequently out of operation, as well as get rid of the old lighting and install new brighter lights in all 47 underground metro stations.

And finally, there's a date for the arrival of the new and safer 7000-series rail cars, which will be bigger and more comfortable for riders.

"By the end of the year, passengers will actually be riding on those brand new cars," said Dan Stessel.

With more than 150 new low-floor buses also on the way, passengers welcome the pending improvements.

"I think it's going to be a better option as far as D.C. moving forward," said Metro passenger MacKenzie Spriggs.

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