WAMU 88.5 : News

Just How Bad Is Metro's Blue Line?

Bottleneck at Rosslyn tunnel mean fewer trains

Play associated audio
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.

NPR

'Neither Snow Nor Rain' Celebrates History Of U.S. Postal Service

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with author Devin Leonard whose new book, Neither Snow Nor Rain, celebrates the history of the U.S. Postal Service.
WAMU 88.5

Should Local Restaurants Retire The Phrase, "Farm To Table?"

Where does Washington restaurant food really come from? Kojo explores how the phrase "farm to table" is used and discusses whether it should be retired altogether.

WAMU 88.5

The Results Of Tuesday's Indiana Primaries

Guest host Lisa Desjardins talks with NPR's Ron Elving about what the results of Tuesday's primaries in Indiana mean for the 2016 presidential race.

NPR

China Investigates Search Engine Baidu After Student Dies Of Cancer

A college student accused China's largest search engine, Baidu, of misleading him to a fraudulent cancer treatment. He died in April.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.