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Schedules Adjusted On July 4

Independence Day is a unique holiday for Washington's transportation system. No other day-off brings so many people to the region's center for so public a celebration.

So the region's transit system has to approach it differently: Metrorail will run on a special schedule from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. Reduced fares will be in effect all day Friday. No bikes on trains, because of the crowding. Smithsonian Station is closed all day, for security reasons, the transit authority says.

Parking at Metro's lots and garages will be free.

Metrobus will operate on a Saturday schedule, and MetroAccess, the service for disabled people, will operate from 5:30 a.m. to midnight.

Click here to see Metro's guide to getting where you want to be on July 4.

What's Different
-- No Pentagon shuttles. After the fireworks on the mall, Metro will not operate any shuttle buses to the Pentagon. Low ridership on the shuttles and the additional rail cars available to the train system led Metro to stop the shuttle service.

-- The Yellow Line will operate between the Franconia-Springfield and Mount Vernon Square. To get to the mall, gete off at L'Enfant Plaza or Archives.

-- The Blue Line service will operate between the Huntington and Rosslyn.

-- The Orange Line will serve both Largo and New Carrollton. (Watch for the destination signs as well as the colors.)

-- Every other Green Line train will turn back at Fort Totten, starting at 6 p.m., to put more service into the line's central area.

-- For the same reason, every other Red Line train will turn back at Silver Spring, starting at 2 p.m.

-- Because of the big crowds heading downtown, you'll see more transit police patrolling the busiest stations and the stations at the ends of lines.

On its Web site, Metro offers a helpful list of service schedules for all the region's transit systems.

For Drivers
The Virginia Department of Transportation says that after the fireworks, it will adjust the timing on 114 traffic signs to make the outbound traffic flow more smoothly. The lights are on Routes 1, 7, 29, 50, 123, 236 and 244.

VDOT warns drivers to steer clear of the 14th Street Bridge during the afternoon and evening because of congestion, and don't think about trying to stop there during the fireworks.

Many roads in Arlington County will be closed on the Fourth. The police department has a list of them here.

Sober Ride
The Independence Day SoberRide program, offered by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, will start at 4 p.m. Friday and remain active to 4 a.m. Saturday. People celebrating with alcohol can call the toll-free SoberRide phone number, 800-200-TAXI, and get a ride home that's worth up to a $50 fare.

By Robert Thomson  |  July 3, 2008; 6:42 AM ET
Categories:  transit  
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Comments

Note that WMATA say that the Blue Line will run only to the UPPER platform at Rosslyn.

Posted by: Rich | July 3, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

If Metro is admitting that this service pattern is more efficient at moving masses of people, why don't they implement this service plan all the time?

Posted by: Metro Service | July 3, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I would assume for cost purposes. For the same reason that restraunts sometimes use a staff of 5 vs. a staff of 4.

Posted by: Service Pattern Rebuttal | July 3, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Metro Service: The places people are trying to go are very different on July 4 and a normal work day. This plan is especially designed to accommodate those differences.

There's not some sinister conspiracy to make Metro inefficient. If changing the allocation of existing service hours would make the system more efficient, Metro would do it. (In fact, they are already planning to make changes to the VA parts of the Yellow and Blue Lines for exactly that reason.)

Posted by: dal20402 | July 3, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I absolutely do not think there is any sinister conspiracy on Metro's part. In fact Metro has chosen to implement some pretty good improvements over the past few years...namely extending Grosvenor Red Line trains to Shady Grove and extending Yellow Line service to Fort Totten.

Current normal Metro service has 2 major flaws that I can see.

First, a lot more people on the Blue/Orange want to go onto the Orange towards Vienna instead of to the Blue Line. There is no reason why the Ballston/Rosslyn corridor has half the service that the downtown portion of the Blue/Orange line has. This 4th of July service plan solves that problem with all New Carrollton and Largo trains going out the Orange Line to Vienna.

Second, Franconia Springfield is a much busier station than Huntington. Why does Huntington get direct service to DC while Franconia Springfield riders either have to take an indirect route or transfer. The 4th of July plan makes more sense when Yellow trains go to Franconia Springfield and Blue to Huntington. Blue riders from Huntington (a busy station) and Arlington Cemetary and Eisenhower Ave (less busy stations) would have to transfer to reach downtown DC. But they have 2 options for making that transfer: Rosslyn or anywhere from King Street to Pentagon. At King Street, Blue riders would be getting onto Yellow trains before they were crowded. At Rosslyn, they would have twice as much Orange line service to transfer into than there would be now.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: Metro Service | July 4, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I never understood the SoberRide program. What if I'm not "celebrating with [excessive] alcohol" but just want a free taxi ride home? How can they tell the different between a drunk person who shouldn't be on the roads and a person who got a ride to a party and now does not have a ride home?

Posted by: Lindemann | July 5, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

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