Advice for the Afternoon Commute
It the mouth of the dog out there. Hot and slobbery. Metro will again slow down the trains to conserve power this afternoon, but I'd still bet on Metro as a way to go this afternoon. I just got back from a little midday tour of the Orange, Blue and Red Line trains. Things that don't matter so much on a normal day could be important today:
-- Temperatures vary from train car to train car. If you are uncomfortable, try moving up or back a car at the next station.
-- Some cars are more crowded than others, and some sections of cars are more crowded than others. It's definitely going to be warmer if there's more body heat in your neighborhood, so that's another reason to be shifting cars if you've got a long ride home.
-- Trains seem to be spending more time at stations. The longer the doors are open the more hot air pours in.
-- Trains that have just departed an above ground terminus tend to be warmer, because they've stopped for a couple of minutes at the turnaround point with the doors open.
-- There's a big temperature difference between the sunny side and the shady side of a rail car. Outbound on the Orange Line toward Vienna, the sun was on the left. Outbound on the Red Line, it also should be on the left.
-- Station temperatures vary, too. Transfer stations are warm, especially on the top level. Stations like Ballston or Union Station are warm because they're the last stations before the trains go above ground. You can feel the warm air pushing in as an inbound train enters the station. I'm starting to suspect that stations with center platforms are warmer than stations with side platforms. It certainly felt cooler near the side wall vents than it did under the center platform air towers.
-- Suburban buses are free this afternoon because a Code Red day for bad air quality was forecast. But it's really unpleasant waiting for a bus at an exposed bus stop. See if you can find some nearby shade while still keeping an eye out for the approaching bus. If you have a choice, pick a route with more frequent service. If I'm anywhere near K Street downtown, I'll go for the DC Circulator bus, which arrives every few minutes.
-- Lots of transit advice and schedule information available on The Commuter Page.
-- If you're driving, check our Web site's Traffic Page before you leave work. It has camera views, maps and incident reports.
What advice do you have for your fellow sufferers today?
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