Metro Mess

Farragut West 6pm Tuesday night

A reader sends in from Farragut West last night:

“Metro has stopped allowing people down to the platform going towards Franconia/Vienna due to massive crowds. Absolute mess with the new rush plus “service”. Have seen way too many people shoved and pushed trying to fit on already packed trains. Commuting into downtown to transfer to a southbound train adds a lot of time and inconvenience. Horrible idea. Picture doesn’t do the crowd justice- it was really uncomfortable.”

And this morning another reader sends:

“I thought of a new tag line for Metro, instead of RUSH PLUS, how about STAGNANT NEGATIVE?”

WMATA has tweeted about the Red line problem:

“Red Line continue single-tracking btwn Van Ness & Dupont Circle due to 3rd rail power problem (arching insulator). Delays 20-25 min. 9:11a”

54 Comment

  • Once again Metro is in the running to be the recipient of the Horses Ass Award.

  • The trip from Federal Triangle to VA was an absolute disaster, complete with 25 minute wait, watching an empty train stop at platform only to pull away (empty) 5 minutes later, with crowds as depicted. Ironically just ONE day after the new improved “Rush Plus.”

  • That is insane. And it is why I pay dearly to live close enough to work to walk.

    • talula

      Same! Also MetroBus > MetroRail

      • Absolutely! I’ll take the bus anytime over the train.

        Drove today, arrived in about 25 minutes in the cool comfort of my car with no crowds pushing and shoving. No complaints.

      • Yes! I love the bus! And unlike the metro, if it gets really horrible it is much easier to escape.

    • +1000. I may take the Metro twice a month.

    • These photos make me want to sneak down to my bike at lunchtime and croon “Bicycle, Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle” by Be Your Own Pet to my bike. I’d rather walk 3 miles in heels than deal with that clusterf.

      • Totally agreed. I ride my bicycle every day- and while I do love cycling, it’s also in no small part because I loathe the bus and metro.

        Those crowds give me the willies. Rubbing up against all those people… ew.

    • Totally agree. Being able to walk to work and every amenity you need is priceless. Having to rely on DC Metro is a very poor lifestyle decision.

      As fares and ridership continue to rise, and service quality declines, is riding the metro really any worse then drive and park at this point?

  • It was the exact same way at L’Enfant Plaza at the same time yesterday, although I think that was normal Nats traffic.

  • Call me sadistic but how fun is it going to be tonight with near 100 degree temps? hahaha

    I give METRO credit, they are trying to solve problems. I hope they did a good study and it works out better for all. It is again, public transportation people.

  • Yesterday I had to wait 15 minutes for a Green line train at Fort Totten. And the first one that arrived was a No Passengers train.

  • The Red line wasn’t changed by Rush+, so putting the “Stagnant negative” quote below the red line picture is misleading.

    Not really enough data to fairly evaluate the changes, but so far it’s definitely helping me get to work faster. Mostly ride green / yellow and orange. Did some some crazy blue line crowding due to rush+

    Tough to disentangle the effects of the rush+ changes from these (unfortunately somewhat common) metro failings.

  • While the crowding hasn’t been an issue where I board, I am still confused as to why the new Yellow line to Franconia-Springfield is considered part of the Rush Plus system, when, for the last 3 days, there has been at least a 10-12 minute wait for the next train when I get to the station. What is RUSH about that? Likewise, it seems that they are NOT running the Yellow line from Fort Totten during the morning hours since I still have to board a Green at Shaw and switch to the Yellow at Mt Vernon Square if I want to get to work in a reasonable time frame. (I discovered this service was still active by accident when I forgot the new RUSH PLUS started on Monday.) Once again, my faith in the system proves to be founded – I told pretty much everyone that the new RUSH PLUS was going to prove almost as nightmarish to understand as the Peak-of-the-Peak charges.

    • I found out the same thing and thought it was odd, why are they still turning trains around at Mt Vernon? You are right, if you wait at shaw for a yellow train you will wait longer and it will be full, if you hop the green down one station as usual you get a yellow train in a matter of minutes that is empty. I assumed they were adding MORE trains to solve the overcrowding problem, I don’t think they did. I think they just kept the same number of trains but changed the color / route of them to make it appear as though they were adding more service. I think they did all of this so nobody would talk about the price hike they just put in service at the same time. I have noticed worse service this week, not better as expected. It was in the planning stages for a very long time, not sure why it does not work perfectly. Metro is a pretty simple system, set paths, set stations, set trains………… not a lot to screw up there, figure it out once and let her fly.

      • They added 3 trains per hour running between F/S and Greenbelt. That’s an average of one train every 20 minutes. Yes, it was wildly overhyped by Metro, but they were pretty clear about how many trains were being added from the start.

        And given the fact that the RushPlus Yellow Line train I was on yesterday from Gallery Place to CH was packed (and this was with a normal Green Line train behind it), clearly it’s beneficial to someone.

    • odd, I got on a yellow line to franconia at fort totten this morning at about 7:34

  • I had to shove a 50ish guy yesterday to get out of a car at Metro Center. He refused to step out of the train to allow people to get off. When did DC become NY?

    • DCers are much worse than NYers about getting out of the way of the opening doors.

    • DC’ers RARELY get off the train to let other people off — they don’t know that rule here. It’s actually much more common in NYC. So much so that when I do it in DC, people look at me funny.

  • I do not understand why Metro ends service on the yellow line at Mt. Vernon Square at times. That line should ALWAYS continue to Ft. Totten. No other Mereo line ends service downtown except for this one. CRAZY!!!

  • pablo .raw

    I just got to my office after waiting forever at Fort Totten, I’m calling it “Messtro” from now on.

  • Yesterday on the Green line, during rush hour AND a Nats game, Metro only had one southbound train toward Branch Ave running every 7 minutes.

    Pure incompetency.

  • I love the new Rush Plus. I commute from Chinatown to Greenbelt (and before that to Columbia Heights) and there’s no longer standing/shoving room only trying to catch the single train that runs past Mt Vernon every 15 min around 5:30p. It’s great.

  • I took the metro from Columbia Heights on Monday and today… had extra long waits for a green train both times. I generally wait at most 4 mins. I waited 8 mins on Monday and today and then had to switch at Mt Vernon to catch a yellow train. My commute has gotten longer since RushPlus!

  • Arrived at Cleveland Park metro at 8:20 this morning, got to Dupont Circle station at 9:35 thanks to the mess caused by a track failure.

    It boggles my mind how many failures Metro experiences. Did idiots build the metro system?

    Boston’s T is the oldest subway system in the Americas (and second oldest in the world) and it runs beautifully to this day. The Tube in London is the oldest in the world and has trains reliably arriving every 2 to 3 minutes.

    Inexcusable to have these types of rail issues on a line that’s only been around since what, the 60s? Boston’s has been around since the 1890s! Come on, DC! Pathetic.

    • I too arrived at the CP metro at 8:20, but was in work at 8:48. This was a fiasco, but a rare one for my commute. It also sounds like you need to be more strategic about where on the platform you stand. My ride was even comfortable.

    • Hmmm….you’ve never been in London when they close entire lines on the weekend because of the maintenance they need to do. Metro slacked for many years on maintenance – now we pay.

  • The ironic thing is that I transferred from the 63 bus to the Green Line at Petworth in order to save time. I ended up right in the middle of the mess at Gallery Place. Once I saw the crowd, I just left the station and walked for blocks and blocks in the heat. Lesson learned: leave the house earlier and stay on the bus!

  • New twitter hashtag: #StopRushPlus lulz

  • Just took me 55 minutes to go 3 stops on the Redline. Would have just walked, but was stuck between stations for 40 minutes. AWFUL.

  • How many of those people could have gotten home by just going to L’Enfant and transfering? I get that it’s nicer to have non-transfer service, but when the tunnel looks like that, don’t you start to evaluate alternatives? There had to be SOME people on that platform who were waiting for the Blue line and not getting off before Pentagon.

    • In a few weeks when people realize that the fastest way home may involve a transfer scenes like this will be less frequent. The only problem is that L’Enfant is already very crowded and with escalator under repair – the transfer is a huge pain. If Metro wants to make people going from Farragut west to Springfield to transfer at L’Enfant and then hope on a Yellow/Blue they should have ensured that the transfer woudl be easy and smooth – aka fix the damn escalators or put in stairs.

  • Wife saw the mess at Van Ness and just walked downtown. I’m sure she got there faster.

  • I have to say, yesterday’s Red Line problems would have been a lot easier for me (and anyone else with a similar commuting pattern) if someone had announced the Red Line issues BEFORE I got off at Gallery Place to switch to the Red Line to Farragut North. Could’ve easily stayed on the train till L’Enfant Plaza and taken Orange/Blue to Farragut West.

    • I think this is the key problem with Metro communications. You have a low probability of finding out there’s a problem at the station you’re entering and no chance of learning about problems in other parts of the system. Many people have alternative routes or modes they could take to avoid hot spots *if they knew*. But they don’t, so they end up exacerbating the problems and feeling hostile about it.

      What’s so frustrating is that this seems like a relatively easy problem to solve, requiring almost no new infrastructure (we have the programmable signboards already, and how about the whiteboards the Tube uses?). But Metro seems somehow resistant to the idea that their communications with passengers could be improved, which only feeds into the hostility and animosity people feel toward Metro.

      • Exactly this.

      • I just wish Metro would stop treating riders like the enemy (“No, there was no problem when 9,000 people were stuck on the Rosslyn platform at rush hour, we had one station manager on the platform directing them to the broken escalator!”) and treat them like allies (“Folks, there’s a bit of a delay at L’Enfant, please take an alternate route if possible.”). It would keep many of these problems from getting as bad as they do, and would buy so much good will that when there are problems, people wouldn’t over-react (“My morning commute is taking 10 minutes longer, I’ll never ride Metro again in my life!”).

      • Not to mention being able to leave a station with in 15~30 minutes without getting dinged for a fare.

      • Exactly. Two weekends ago when Pride coincided with some huge Girl Scout festival on the mall I was waiting at Metro Center to get on the Orange Line. There was some sort of major train malfunction and they switched to single tracking, but save for one announcement over those loudspeakers that no one can ever hear anyway, there was zero crowd control. I ride the metro all the time and could barely figure out what was going on, so you can imagine that the hundreds of hot, cranky tourists on the ground were confused beyond belief. When this used to happen, Metro would send one or two employees down to the platform to answer questions and direct people onto the right train, but there was no one to be found.

  • For riders on the western side of the red line don’t forget about the L2 bus as an alternative. The southern section of the route has been changed to now re-enter CT Ave at CA St and then head to Farragut Sq thru the Dupont tunnel. It’s great. And at 8:30 this morning, half empty.

  • So were the crowds at Farragut West due solely to the “Rush Plus”, or was there any other problem (like a broken train?) Given the Red Line problems this morning, I did relatively well – I only had to wait for one train to go by before getting on another (directly behind it) and I only got to work 10 minutes later than usual. But I wanted to jab my elbow into the oblivious bus rider who sat next to me and was sitting so close as to make me very uncomfortable (is there something about college-aged boys that makes them totally oblivious?) – it’s going to be a long summer…

  • I have to agree about the communications issues…. at no point this morning did I hear anything about delays on the Red Line until it was too late – I was already at Gallery Place. I was moving and grooving along the Green Line [for a change] from Columbia Heights and got “whiplash” when approaching the platform area at Gallery Place – HUNDREDS of people all stacked up. No texts alerts, no nothing…. and then it was a bit before the PA made an announcement @ the track issues.

    Based on the comments so far, some lines are moving slower than before… I understand it will take more than 3 days for Rush+ to settle in, but I imagine there will be tweaks to the system over the next few weeks. Hopefully more communication will be a included.

  • brookland_rez

    Have not tried metro during rush hour since rush plus started. Seeing this and hearing stories from co-workers makes me glad I ride a motorcycle to work. Now that school is out, the ride from Brookland to downtown is a breeze.

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the red line problems were not caused by rush plus. It seems that there’s a group mentality to unduly hate on the concept here, but it really is a change that needed to happen. My impression was that metro noticed that the green/yellow line has a rapidly growing demand and they’re trying to shift their resources to accommodate that. Like all rollouts, there are issues, but give them some time before making a judgment.

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