Metro: Delays, crowding on all lines
5:15 P.M. UPDATE
Metro now says ridership -- and the delays -- are starting to slow down after a hectic day of long lines and crowded stations.
With many Mall and D.C. visitors leaving the dueling rallies between 1 and 3 p.m., Metro said conditions have improved late this afternoon. Many first-time Metro passengers waited outside stations before 7 a.m., mainly at end-of-the-line stops, and "tremendously long lines" were reported at fare vending machines all day, said Lisa Farbstein, a Metro spokeswoman.
"It's started to tail off now that the crowds have headed home," she said. Nationals Game crowds will start to enter the system at about 5:30 p.m.
Today's highly-anticipated ridership figures will be released Monday.
3:50 P.M. UPDATE: Reports are coming in from across the system about delays getting into and out of stations. The situation is exacerbated by regularly scheduled maintenance work taking place on some lines. Also, expect congestion to get worst on the Green Line as crowds head to Navy Yard Station to get to Nationals Park and see the Nats take on the St. Louis Cardinals at 7:05 p.m. It's also Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez bobblehead night. The first 15,000 fans get a bobblehead of the popular catcher, who's having a great year.
1:35 P.M. UPDATE
The Fort Totten train malfunction, which stalled cars north of the station on track B2, has been fixed, Metro officials say, although Red Line delays in both directions continue.
1:15 P.M. UPDATE
A train has "malfunctioned" outside of the Fort Totten station in Northeast D.C. Delays extend to Shady Grove. Metro says it will release more information shortly.
1 P.M. UPDATE
Which Metro stop is facing longer delays and bigger crowds -- Smithsonian or Foggy Bottom-GWU?
Smithsonian is, unsurprisingly, jam-packed given its proximity to the "Restoring Honor" rally near the Lincoln Memorial and Foggy Bottom has lines stretching outside and around the block near George Washington University Hospital (it's also move-in day for GW students, making matters worse for commuters).
Metro opened the gates at both stations to try and relieve congestion, along with stops at Franconia-Springfield, Shady Grove, East Falls Church and Greenbelt. Gates were opened for a short amount of time, ranging from 30 minutes to an hour, and all gates were closed by 11 a.m.
According to Metro's website and The Post's DC Rider iPhone application, which relies on Metro data, Blue Line trains from Foggy Bottom to Largo Town Center are running about 8 to 11 minutes apart and about 10 minutes apart to Franconia-Springfield. Orange Line trains to New Carrollton are about 10 minutes and trains to Vienna are about 13 minutes apart.
Smithsonian might be taking the cake though.
At the Smithsonian stop, Blue Line trains to Franconia-Springfield are about 19 minutes apart while there's a nine-minute wait for trains to Largo Town Center. Orange line trains to New Carrollton are at least running about 12 minutes apart and there's an 18-minute wait to Vienna. That's if you can fit into the crowded cars.
Had a rough go of it with crowds and lines today? Send us an e-mail.
12:15 P.M. UPDATE
Long lines and heavy delays on Blue, Green and Red Line Metro trains are still being reported as the afternoon rallies continue.
Disruptions on some Yellow and Orange Line lines were cleared late Saturday morning, Metro said, but passengers said they were still dealing with cramped trains. One passenger described an Orange Line train heading to New Carrollton as a "sauna."
Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said many of the long lines and delays Saturday morning were clustered near fare machines as visitors tried to purchase new cards for the first time.
The "Reclaim the Dream" crowd staging at Dunbar High School and surrounding areas has prompted the closure of the 1300 block of New Jersey Avenue NW and left sections of New York Avenue NE and NW congested, according to D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services.
10:30 A.M. UPDATE
Metro is advising passengers trying to use the Franconia-Springfield station at the end of the Blue Line in Fairfax County and the Shady Grove station at the end of the Red Line use other stations, The Post's Lena Sun reports.
Riders in Virginia may try Huntington Station, which is the end of the Yellow Line, and riders in Maryland should try Twinbrook, Rockville or White Flint Stations, which are stops further down the Red Line.
10:25 A.M. UPDATE
Metro is experiencing "extremely crowded conditions" today, with officials attributing some of the long lines and delays to out-of-town passengers and organizers who failed to purchase fare cards in advance.
The gates at four stations have been opened to help reduce congestion: Foggy Bottom, Smithsonian, Franconia-Springfield and Shady Grove.
The most-crowded stations, according to Metro officials:
-- Franconia-Springfield (Blue)
-- Shady Grove (Red)
-- Greenbelt (Green)
-- Smithsonian (Blue and Orange)
-- Foggy Bottom-GWU (Blue and Orange)
-- Vienna-Fairfax/GMU (Orange)
-- East Falls Church (Orange)
-- Pentagon City (Blue and Yellow)
-- Stadium-Armory (Blue and Orange)
-- Federal Triangle (Blue and Orange)
-- New Carrollton (Orange)
Many of the terminal stations at the end of transit lines were very crowded with passengers who were "unfamiliar with our fare-card system," said Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.
Also, Farbstein said, it appeared organizers did not purchase nearly enough fare cards for commuters, causing severe back-ups. For other large rallies and events downtown, including President Obama's inauguration, coordinators have purchased Metro cards for visitors ahead of time.
"Apparently, organizers did not purchase ample fare this time around," Farbstein said.
The heavy crowds caused Metro to cancel some of its routine weed trimming work along Blue Line tracks, she said. Some escalators have been reported to be malfunctioning although it was unclear at what stations.
9:55 A.M. UPDATE
The Post's Annie Gowen said long lines at the King Street Metro station are causing crowded trains on the Blue Line.
Hundreds are pouring into the Stadium-Army Metro station, reports The Post's Amy Gardner. And commuters say the lines at Shady Grove stretches a half mile outside the station and wraps around the parking lot.
Delays and detours due to rolling street closures are impacting D.C. Circulator's Georgetown, Waterfront and Navy Yard routes.
9:30 A.M. UPDATE
Delays are being reported due to crowding at the following Metro stops: Glenmont and Shady Grove on the Red Line; New Carrollton and Vienna-Fairfax/GMU on the Orange Line; Franconia-Springfield and Largo Town Center on the Blue Line; Branch Avenue and Greenbelt on the Green Line and Huntington on the Yellow Line.
The disruptions are being reported "system-wide," Metro says.
The D.C. Circulator Smithsonian bus route running around the National Mall has been suspended all day Saturday, despite earlier reports that the service would be re-started at 3 p.m.
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