Just How Bad Is Metro's Blue Line? | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Just How Bad Is Metro's Blue Line?

Bottleneck at Rosslyn tunnel mean fewer trains

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The start of Silver Line service has meant fewer, more crowded trains on the Blue Line.
Martin Di Caro/WAMU
The start of Silver Line service has meant fewer, more crowded trains on the Blue Line.

Since Metro’s new Silver Line service necessitated service cuts of two trains per hour to the Blue Line, some riders have been grumbling that their commutes are a nightmare.

Especially aggravating is the afternoon ride home to Virginia from Metro stations west of downtown, like Foggy Bottom and in Rosslyn, where the tunnel under the Potomac creates a bottleneck where the Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines make their daily parade with a maximum capacity of 26 trains per hour. Five of those trains are supposed to be Blue Line.

For one hour, WAMU’s Martin Di Caro watched rush hour on the outbound Rosslyn platform — from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.

While the platforms never grew uncomfortably crowded, two of the four Blue Line trains were so crowded that waiting passengers struggled to board. Those were six-car trains. The other two Blue Line trains had eight cars each. While the middle cars were packed to the doors, the final cars in each of the eight-car trains had plenty of space, if only commuters had better spaced themselves out along the platform.

While one fewer Blue Line train than promised made it through the tunnel, only 21 total trains passed through Rosslyn during the hour, five fewer than maximum capacity.

According to the Metro Minder app, four Blue Line trains had an average wait time of 14 minutes, seven Silver Line trains had an average wait time of eight minutes, and 10 Orange Line trains had average wait times of six minutes between 5 and 6 p.m.

Listen to Martin Di Caro’s report for an hour in the life of Blue Line commuters trying to squeeze through the Rosslyn bottleneck.

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