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Morning Commute Will Be Tough For Many

Metrorail opened at 5 a.m., but with a bus bridge service on the eastern side of the Red Line similar to what riders encountered in the hours after the crash. The transit authority said riders should add an hour to their usual commuting times in that area this morning. MARC canceled today's service on the Brunswick Line from western Maryland into Union Station.

Red Line
Metro said that Red Line trains will operate between Glenmont and Silver Spring and between Shady Grove and Rhode Island Avenue. Riders could board the free shuttle buses connecting the stations.

Bus shuttles can be quickly overwhelmed by demand. This will be a slow way to get to work. Rush hour passengers who reach Silver Spring Station might consider taking one of Metrobus's limited stop services to reach downtown Washington. The S9 leaves every 10 minutes from the corner of Colesville Road and East-West Highway and heads down 16th Street. The 79, the Metro Extra, leaves from Wayne Avenue near Dixon Avenue and heads down Georgia Avenue. Riders would pay the regular fare for those services.

Silver Spring
Downtown Silver Spring is likely to get very crowded as rush hour develops. The Metro station area already was disrupted by construction of the new transit center, which has closed the old bus terminal for Metrobus and Ride On. Last night, Metro's special shuttle buses were loading and unloading passengers along Wayne Avenue, by the concrete barrier in front of the construction area. This morning, they have moved around to the M bus bay on Dixon Avenue, which is working much better.

Some commuters may want to try their luck on the Green Line, driving to the Greenbelt Station off the Capital Beltway, but parking there tends to be tight and it's best to arrive very early.

Metrobus Options
Metro also recommended these bus routes that could take people west to the untroubled part of the Red Line:
• Metrobus C8 line (Glenmont to White Flint)
• Metrobus Q2 line (Wheaton to Rockville)
• Metrobus C2, C4 line (Wheaton to Twinbrook)
• Metrobus J1 line (Silver Spring to Medical Center)
• Metrobus J2, J3, J4 line (Silver Spring to Bethesda)
• Metrobus L7, L8 line (Friendship Heights)

Trip Planner
Metro's Trip Planner calculator will not give accurate guidance on a Red Line trip this morning. It does not factor in the disruption. But tell it to calculate a "bus only" trip and it will be useful if none of the Metrobus routes listed here work for you.

Ride On
Ride On, Montgomery County's bus service, reports no delays or detours as of 6 a.m.

The Maryland Transit Administration canceled all trains Tuesday on its Brunswick Line. Much of its equipment is still stuck at Union Station.

Brunswick Line commuters are on their own, but could drive to some of the outer stations on the western side of the Red Line, such as Shady Grove. Those outer stations also tend to fill up early under normal circumstances.

New Hampshire Avenue Status
New Hampshire Avenue inbound lanes only will be open between 5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., the District Department of Transportation said. Then New Hampshire will close again, between North Capitol Street and Eastern Avenue.

Watch for Variable Message Signs in decision-making locations in Montgomery County that will point drivers toward alternative routes. Here are some suggestions: Riggs Road, Piney Branch Road, Missouri Avenue, New York Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue, Bladensburg Road, Michigan Avenue to Irving Street to southbound North Capitol Street, Georgia Avenue, 16th Street NW, Interstate 295 southbound to Benning Road or Howard Road

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By Robert Thomson  |  June 23, 2009; 5:55 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting , Metro , transit  | Tags: MARC, Metro delays, Metrobus, Metrorail, Red Line crash, Ride On  
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I live right at the Fort Totten station.

Another good option if you work in the western part of the City or the NW suburbs is to take an E bus, which runs east-west across Missouri/Military Road. It also connects to 16 and 14th Streets which has buses going downtown.

Posted by: sarainDC | June 22, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Question for the other end of the Red line:

How early does the Shady Grove metro parking generally fill up? If I get there at 6:45 will I have a shot at getting a spot?

Thanks for any help!

Posted by: fed_chick | June 22, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Do not depend on shuttle bus service between stations. This afternoon there was a dearth of shuttle buses and absolutely no communication at the subway station per what bus to get on, where it was going, etc. As bad as this accident was, Metro has lots of experience setting up shuttle buses. There is no excuse for an hour wait for a shuttle bus, drivers that can't even tell boarding passengers where they are going, and no communication on the ground, Metro workers should have been walking up and down the station sidewalk informing commuters. Ticket takers at movie theaters do a better job.

Posted by: dezlboy1 | June 22, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: fed_chick, it's hard to know what to expect about tomorrow. Riders have told me that 7:30 is often a fill-up time at Shady Grove. On Tuesday morning, you'll have MARC commuters adding to the crowd, but also, vacations are taking people away. I'd go for 6:45.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | June 22, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Dr. Gridlock! I will aim for 6:45 or even earlier if I can manage it. I've never been to that station so I'm not familiar with the parking set up.

Posted by: fed_chick | June 22, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Five bucks from me says that there won't be a single Metro staffperson to be found at Silver Spring, RI Ave, Ft Totten, etc. to guide people to shuttles, save for a couple standing around chatting by the station booth. I really hope I am wrong, particularly with the current bus layout at Silver Spring.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | June 22, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I have to get from Dupont to Silver Spring tomorrow. I'm thinking of going to Bethesda and then catching one of the East-West Highway buses to Silver Spring. Or is there a better way to go?

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 22, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bob--

How about some info on getting from Takoma to downtown D.C.

Posted by: steve20912 | June 22, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

This puts a spotlight on the artificial political boundary that truncates all of the Metrobus routes headed northwest to Bethesda/southeast from Bethesda. There's no real way to get to Bethesda without an arbitrary stop-and-transfer at Friendship Heights.

Shady Grove is one thing, but Bethesda and Medical Center are really still "inner" stops, and the lack of redundant bus service against the system's busiest rail line is a bit ridiculous.

Posted by: MosesCleaveland | June 22, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Ride On will also be a huge help tomorrow. There is the #1 and #11 from Friendship Heights to Silver Spring and the Ride On 5 that runs from Twinbrook to Silver Spring and also serves the White Flint area, also the Ride On 34 runs from Bethesda to Wheaton.

Lots of bus options out there, just a matter of getting familiar with them and taking the time to read up on the schedules tonight.

It will be interesting to see how many people convert to buses after this.

Posted by: pdog22203 | June 22, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

fed_chick: I routinely arrive at Shady Grove between 5:30 AM and 6:00 AM--the commuter lots always have plenty of spaces at those times. Another alternative that may be easier and more convenient is to park at a commuter lot and catch the RideOn or other bus to Shady Grove or even Rockville. Depending on your point of departure, this can save you navigating 370 and then hunting for a parking spot. I routinely park in Germantown and catch the 100 bus. Parking is free (unlike the Metro lots) and then it's $1.50 (I think) to Metro--I just use SmartTrip for that. Here's a link to the Park and Ride/bus schedule info:

Posted by: kroshka | June 22, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

How will the shuttle buses affect the regular buses? What if one intends to board an S bus at the Silver Spring Metro station? The bus stops are already scattered from the transit center construction.
What if one normally picks up a bus from Ft. Totten - station is closed, including for buses?

Posted by: catbird500 | June 23, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Per getting info out and answering questions. WMATA could have a running question and answer FAQ on their website to handle inquiries of the sort being posted here. I don't understand why they don't use the technologies available to them, and it's up to commuters to answer each other's questions.

vtagjoe - I won't take your bet. I will lose!

Posted by: dezlboy1 | June 23, 2009 5:00 AM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: steve20912, check out the route of Metrobus 62, 63 from Takoma to downtown Washington and see if that would work for you:

Posted by: Robert Thomson | June 23, 2009 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that the Post says they can do text messages and twitter, but its mobile site (what you see from your Blackberry) is only updated once a day. The Post is wasting a valuable resource for reaching commuters.

Posted by: tomtildrum | June 23, 2009 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Couldn't Metro post times (hours and minutes) on its web site anncts. rather than simply saying "sixth" or "seventh update", which doesn't tell anyone whether the information is 3 minutes or 3 hours old? Sending commuters to the Metro website to get information is very frustrating.

Posted by: observer29 | June 23, 2009 6:10 AM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: tomtildrum, I share your thoughts about the mobile site. But you should find the latest Get There blog entries on it, even if the stories are not the most recent. Also, I've been sending out alerts on (We do expect to improve the performance of the mobile site.)

Posted by: Robert Thomson | June 23, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Maryland Transportation Authority Web site lists "minor disruption" for MARC. The Brunswick Line isn't running at all today. This is a minor disruption?

Posted by: Sutter | June 23, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

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