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Metro system quieting down

Riders are continuing to fill up cars across the Metro system, but the post-fireworks traffic surge has passed.

At the Federal Triangle station on the Blue and Orange lines, riders tell Staff Writer Yamiche Alcindor that they have waited more than 45 minutes to catch a train. But at the Smithsonian station, there were no longer lines to get on trains after 11:30 p.m.

Red Line trains passing through Metro Center are still full, but crowds are thinning.

By James Hohmann  |  July 4, 2009; 11:35 PM ET
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As of this morning (July 6), the red line is still a mess. There is about an 8-minute wait between trains, and when the train arrived at Bethesda at 7:40 a.m., it was already packed. The many people waiting at Bethesda defied the laws of physics and mangaged to crowd onto the train somehow, though. (What is one to do, wait for the next train? Ri-i-i-ght...) The alleged 21-minute ride to Union Station took 25 minutes which, with the extra 5-minute delay in waiting for the train, represents an extra 43% delay in terms of time. One passenger said he heard that it is going to be like this for about a year, though he did not cite his source. In any case, it looks like things are going to be bad on the red line for a long time. Fortunately for metro, there is no viable competitive transportation alternative for most of us, and fortunately for its employees, nobody is accountable to anybody.

Posted by: MyPostID27 | July 6, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

This was the 9th straight year my wife and I attended the fireworks celebration on the Mall. Each year we follow the same route, King St. Metro to Arlington Cemetery. In years past we've always taken the Yellow line from King St to Arlington on account of the "Special" July 4 setup where Blue and Yellow swap at Pentagon, and then Yellow terminates at Rosslyn where double Orange lines continue into the city. This configuration for the special event has always ensured our quick arrival and speedy departure, never waiting for more then 5-10 minutes to board a train at Arlington from the time we get into line at the top of the escalators.

This year was significantly different. No special maps, and apparently no increase in the number of trains running. After the fireworks were over, it took us roughly 1 full hour from the time we got into line at the top of the escalators, to the time we boarded a train. At one point, there were 10 minutes between arriving trains! This is unheard of for the 4th of July weekend.

What was the reasoning for the reduction of service over previous years? Why not charge a rush hour fee for the entire July 4th holiday knowing that extra trains will be needed? Metro rarely makes sense in their decision making. Perhaps it is just another case of a bloated private federally and local government funded entity, making the users of the system "feel the pain" before asking for more money.

Posted by: santanaf | July 6, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

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