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Metro To Shorten Station Names

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Metro is considering this prototype for its new in-train LED signs. But to use these, Metro needs to shorten its long-winded station names.
David Schultz
Metro is considering this prototype for its new in-train LED signs. But to use these, Metro needs to shorten its long-winded station names.

Right now some station names are so long they can be a real mouthful. Try U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo. Or New York Avenue/Florida Avenue/Gallaudet University.

Believe it or not, Metro actually has a rule that no station name can be longer than 19 characters. But over the years, local jurisdictions kept asking for more and more exceptions to the rule, says Metro's customer service chief, Barbara Richardson.

"I think that over time what has happened is that the names are becoming a marketing tool," she says.

But Richardson says now, with a major revamp of the Metro map in store, it's a good time to make some changes. The organization is also examining the use of new electronic station and route displays inside trains, but the current prototype won't allow some of the long names applied to stations.

Richardson's office will solicit ideas on shorter names from riders this summer and then formulate a new policy later in the fall. Sure, some people will probably balk at the changes, but, as Richardson says, the shorter the station's name the better.

D.C. Metro Station Naming Policy
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