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Some Blue Line Riders Stand To Lose With Start Of Silver Line Service

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Metro cautions that Blue Line riders into Virginia may be better off taking the Yellow Line.
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Metro cautions that Blue Line riders into Virginia may be better off taking the Yellow Line.

Metro is advising rail riders to be prepared for service changes in advance of the start of Silver Line service late next month.

Blue Line riders are expected to see the most dramatic changes: only one Blue Line train every 12 minutes at all times — including rush hour — starting Monday, July 21.

“Trains already run every 20 minutes on the weekends, and during rush hour for it to run every 12 minutes it’s going to be a disaster,” said Omar Sankofa as he waited on the Blue Line platform at Metro Center Tuesday afternoon.

Eleven percent of all existing riders will experience longer wait times, primarily Blue Line riders, starting on July 21, according to the transit authority. The Silver Line makes its maiden trip July 26.

Fifty percent of Metro rail riders will see no change in service and about one-third will see shorter average wait times or will have access to new Silver Line service, according to Metro.

Additionally, Metro is advising commuters to consider alternatives to longer Blue Line headways if they travel from Virginia into D.C.

A Blue Line brochure says “a trip from Pentagon station to McPherson Square station takes 11 minutes on a Blue Line train with no wait time on the platform. Taking the Yellow Line to L'Enfant Plaza and switching to the Blue, Orange, or Silver Lines takes just three minutes longer. So if the next Blue Line train is more than three minutes away, you want to say hello to Yellow.”

Some Blue Line riders will be better off once the Silver Line starts. Those who travel from Largo to L'Enfant during rush hour today have 10 trains per hour. The Silver Line will provide a 50 percent increase — 15 trains per hour — for that trip.

The brochure also suggests commuters could get a faster trip home in the evening by taking the Blue, Orange, or Silver Line to L’Enfant Plaza and then switching to the Yellow. Metrobus and Arlington Transit (ART) will offer bus options to the Blue Line.

While fewer Blue Line trains will run, Metro says stations along the Blue/Yellow in Virginia will see just as many trains as of July 21 as they do today. There will be two more Yellow trains per hour and two fewer Blue.

When the Silver Line was first planned, a draft environmental impact statement called for Blue Line trains to run every 14 minutes and the other lines to run every seven minutes. Metro says the decision to extend the Silver Line to Largo allowed for the preservation of the base six-minute headway on the Orange, Yellow, Green and Silver Lines, while shaving the Blue Line headways down to 12 instead of 14 minutes.

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