LISTEN: Metro Tells Riders Avoid Trains During Two Weeks Of Track Work

Heather Curtis
WMAL.com

WASHINGTON (WMAL) – Metro’s telling people to use other modes of transportation for two weeks starting Saturday as construction will shut down part of the blue line and lead to single-tracking on the Orange and Silver lines.

“Only take Metro if you have no other option,” the pamphlet reads.

“I don’t love that messaging because I think there are a couple of things that I would say before ‘do something else,'” said Metro board member Christian Dorsey.

Dorsey recommends people take busses, adjust their work schedules and leave during off-peak periods, take trains and give themselves extra time for delays or telework.

For those who do decide to ride the rails, it will likely require a lot of waiting and patience. Starting Saturday and going through Aug. 26, the Blue Line will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Arlington Cemetery only. Rail and bus service will not be offered between Arlington Cemetery & Rosslyn.

Also starting Saturday Orange and Silver Line trains will single-track between McPherson Square and Smithsonian through Aug, 19. Trains will only come every 20-minutes, even at rush hour. In a press release, the transit agency warned riders that the trains may not have room for everyone.

This weekend and the weekend of Aug. 25 and 26 Farragut West and McPherson Square will be closed.

This new work is in addition to the closure of the Brookland and Rhode Island Avenue stations on the Red Line, which started July 21 and continues through Labor Day.

Board Chair Jack Evans was surprised Metro was telling people to avoid trains but offered up this rationale.

“Rather than having people come into the system and wait or not be able to get on a train cause it’s too crowded or because it’s running at a different schedule, it’s not as frequent as possible, so to avoid that kind of frustration I think Metro’s attempting to give people a heads up,” Evans said.

Both Evans and Dorsey think Metro should encourage people to take the transit system’s busses. But unlike when other track work has been underway, Metro doesn’t seem to be funneling people to busses.

“I think it’s a mistake. I do. I think this is an opportunity really to spotlight Metro Bus as an alternative,” Dorsey said.

Evans said they can look at adding bus service, but it costs money.

“Metro is starved for cash,” Evans said.

Extra busses have been added to get people around during the Red Line closures. A dedicated bus lane has been set up along parts of Rhode Island Ave NE, and additional G9 MetroExtra service has been operating during all hours the rail system is open using the dedicated bus lanes.

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