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Transit roundup for Thursday

Airports | Amtrak | Buses | Capital Weather Gang | D.C. snow emergency | Plowing plans | Rails | Snow removal | Live traffic

For anyone who's been outside or even looked outside, there will be no surprises in our transit forecast, except for the scheduled return of the D.C. Circulator buses on two routes.

  • Metrorail will operate underground only. The rail system will open at 5 a.m. Trains will run at 24-minute to 30-minute intervals until midnight.The Red Line, split in two segments, will operate between Union Station and Medical Center and between Glenmont and Forest Glen. The Blue and Orange lines will both operate between Ballston and Stadium-Armory. The Green Line will operate between Fort Totten and Congress Heights. The Yellow Line will run between the Pentagon and Crystal City.
  • Metrobus will not operate.
  • MetroAcess will not operate.
  • The District's Circulator buses will run on the Georgetown-Union Station and Woodley Park/Adams Morgan-McPherson Square Metro station routes, starting at 10 a.m. Service will be less frequent than the normal 10-minute headways and may have to be suspended early in the evening if the streets freeze up.
  • Alexandria's DASH buses will not operate.
  • Arlington's ART buses will not operate.
  • Fairfax County's Fairfax Connector bus will not operate.
  • Falls Church's GEORGE bus will not operate.
  • Loudoun County's commuter bus will not operate.
  • PRTC's OmniRide bus will not operate.
  • Montgomery County's Ride On bus will not operate.
  • Prince George's County's The Bus will not operate.
  • Maryland's commuter buses will not operate.
  • Maryland's MARC trains will not operate on any line.
  • Virginia's VRE trains will not operate on any line.

By Robert Thomson  |  February 10, 2010; 9:12 PM ET
Categories:  Metro , Weather , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, snowstorm, tips for travelers  
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Next: Dulles reopens


Good thing Washington is shut down during the celebration of the Iranian Revolution. Otherwise it would have been bombs away. God works in mysterious ways.

Posted by: Spiritof761 | February 11, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Why are the buses not operating? The road crews were making good headway last night.

Posted by: Wallenstein | February 11, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Anyone have tips for transportation to Dulles from Takoma Park pre-dawn Friday morning? It's unclear to me whether the normally reliable Washington Flyer is even operating now. I can't get through by phone.

Posted by: ermiwe | February 11, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I wonder which comes first, Metro operating on such a limited schedule or the Federal government closing. Need the former operating to allow the latter to open, but if the latter is closed, not much need for the former to operate at full capacity.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 11, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Anyone think it's safe to drive down 16th st. from Silver Spring to Meridian Hill Park?

Posted by: SilverSpring7 | February 11, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Update: What gives with the buses? I have ridden the bus in MUCH worse road conditions; actually, with the sun now and plenty of salt (a new layer and the stuff still around from the weekend), the main local roads are not too bad. I would be confident taking my mountain bike out on most of the main routes in MoCo.

Are the buses snowed in somewhere? Drivers trapped at home?

Posted by: Wallenstein | February 11, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Re: Metro and cancelled service on above ground rail stations

Similar rail systems in the New York and Philadelphia rail (using the same third rail "shoe" for power pickup) continued to operate during the storms.

Why can't Metro?

I've lost confidence in Metro. If you look around, most of what people think is great is due to the wonderful designs put together in the 70's. Since that time, very little has impressed me.

- Large number of failed trains pulled out of service, dumping hundreds of people on an intermediate station, praying for an spot on the next train. Equipment maintainence practices should take the blame for this.

- Chronic electrical fires in the underground sections (probably due to deferred maintenance). Bad track maintenance practices cause this failure

- A defeatist attitude about 8 inches of snow, treated as it is the end of world. Again, others have resolved this, why not our Metro?

Man up, act like a real transportation operations, and start thinking success, not making excuses.

PS - Hey, Metro Public Relations Staff -- Listen to yourselves -- "We're doing the best we can" is not a long-term solution to miserable performance.

Posted by: ViennaDude | February 11, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Metro makes no sense. How are people who use the Blue Line supposed to get to D.C. if they can't get across the river? Why can't at least the above-ground section of track at Arlington Cemetery be cleared? What is the point of moving people from Crystal City to Pentagon if that's the end of the line? Unless you can get to an underground station between Ballston and Rosslyn along the Orange Line corridor, you can't use Metro to get into D.C. So again Metro sticks it to the Blue Line.

Posted by: sue1047 | February 11, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm seeing very strange readouts on the real-time rail screens from the website. There seems to be equipment moving, but they have turned off the annunciators. One of my friends is waiting in Foggy Bottom for an Orange Line train in the direction of Ballston. The Station Manager says that the train will be there in about a half an hour. There are many people waiting for this train. Anybody have any ideas on what is happening?

Posted by: Dr_Gene_Nelson | February 11, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Metro has been seriously underfunded for years. Its performance during this horrendous storm in part reflects the chronic underfunding.

Better management would also help.

Posted by: valeriedc | February 11, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

@ sue

The 3 yellow line stations in VA are likely kept going for the limited amount of people (at least during storms like just past) that still have business at the Pentagon. There's a fair amount of contractors down in Crystal City.

Metro doesn't have near the level of snow removal equipment of other jurisdictions, so it's likely that that stretch at Arlington Cemetery will just have to wait to be cleared with the rest of the system.

@ Gene

The PIDS system never works well when Metro single tracks. Given that they're single tracking entire lines, and at times in opposite directions on that single track, the system might not even read / display a train until it's right there at the platform.

Posted by: Mainland | February 11, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@ ermiwe -- I talked to Wash Flyer yesterday and they were not taking reservations for any time before 10am on Fri (even if the airport was open, which I found a bit frustrating).

I'd recommend trying different cab companies, although I've found them to be hit or miss. Maybe try booking a couple of different ones--someone is likely to show up. Getting car service is more expensive, but I've found it to be the safest option.

Posted by: lr87 | February 11, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Part of Metro's above ground problems is due to the design of the system itself. NYC, Chicago and other cities with "older" systems have a significant percentage of their above ground portion on trestle-style trackage. This allows snow to fall right through to street level before it can reach the third rail. NYC and Philly have a system of local and express sections where trains can be parked underground without forcing single track operation. Metro's viaducts are solid and and allow snow build up while there are no express sections to park trains

Consequently those older systems are better positioned to fight snow (because it doesnt build up as badly in many areas) and combat it harder in the fewer sections that are at ground or on solid viaducts (think the Dyre and Rockaway branches in NYC or the northern portion of the Red and Purple lines in Chicago).

BTW, Chicago isn't immune to snow-related rapid transit debacles. Large snows in 1979 and 1999 paralyzed significant portions of the systemWould Metro benefit from more and better snow removal equipment? Absolutely. But the real way for Metro to have been snow-resistant would have been to design it that way from the get-go.

Posted by: patrickjford | February 11, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Washington is a southern city. It NEVER snows down south. Hence no need to design in the local urban transit railroad a means to operate in snow. One member of Congress consistently argued (as funding for Metro was argued/debated) that Washington's Metro was a boondoggle that was simply a means to move bureaucrats around. And who needs bureaucrats? Let 'em take the bus. When it comes to making funding decisions, Congress usually gets it wrong. War. We gotta have a war. Have two. They're small.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | February 11, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I just spoke to a Dulles airport representative who said the Washington Flyer coach is not running today because the WFC metro is closed. Conveniently, this company also has a monopoly on all taxis leaving from IAD and just raised their rates. So when my friend and his 25 students arrive today for a conference, they will have the unique welcoming experience of renting a fleet of 6 taxis to bring them into the DC area, costing nearly $400. Nice.

Posted by: awktalk | February 11, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

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