Some Commuters Concerned about Blue Line Service when the Silver Line Launches

Photo by PoPville flickr user Barbara.K

“Dear PoPville,

There’s a petition out to Save the blue line:

Thousands of riders take the Blue Line to and from work every day, but Metro is cutting their service to have just one train every 12 minutes. This will cause a major inconvenience for the many people who rely on the Metro for their daily commute, while only providing minimal additional benefits to other riders in the system. After this change the Blue Line will be the only line in the DC Metro system without enhanced rush hour service. We request that Metro respect the needs of the many Blue Line riders and stop the planned service cuts.

As a blue line commuter, I can tell you the new changes in anticipation of the silver line have made a HUGE negative impact on my commute and I’m sure has done the same for others. I’m glad that metro is expanding their services, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of existing services and reliability to long-time riders.

Hopefully this petition can get enough signatures to cause WMATA to consider a more even distribution of orange/blue/silver line trains during peak hours.”

30 Comment

  • What part of the blue line will only have trains every 12 minutes? Won’t silver line trains take place of the old blue lines trains since they will run the same route through the downtown corridor and into MD in addition to the orange lines through downtown and the yellow line trains in VA? Seems like only 2 blue line stations might be affected if the yellow rush plus trains go away.

    • I’m looking at the map and I don’t see the problem, I agree. The only commuters that I could think of being affect would be those that are between Arlington Cemetary-Franconia, but even then the yellow line runs through those stations as well.

      • For someone going, for example, from Braddock Rd to Foggy Bottom, the yellow line option is much longer (12 vs 7 stops) and requires changing trains.

        • Yeah. But what’s the alternative? Not really much room to slice Orange or Silver line service.

          • In the long term, there’s talk of a second station in Rosslyn to increase the capacity at that bottleneck, but that is years and years away.
            I agree that WMATA is doing what they can to balance demand, but I can also see why people who live along the blue line are not happy about the changes. I am afraid that for many of them, the alternative will be to drive.

    • Greater Greater Washignton has a really nice explanation about the changes in timing and capacity on the blue, orange, and silver lines. Basically, blue line trains will be longer but less frequent, so although the capactiy will go down only slightly, wait times will increase.

    • It would be three if they got rid of rush plus, Arlington Cemetery, Van Dorn and Franconia.

  • Yeah, this just isn’t going to work out for them. Blue line volume necessitates that it be the line to take the hit. The Orange Line is just too busy.

  • Lol. When is the last time you looked at a metro map?

  • Almost all of the blue line is shared with another line. So doesn’t this just mean that you’ll have a train every 6 minutes – they’ll just change colors?

    This will only affect the people who have to be on a part of the blue line that isn’t shared. For most people, the worst case scenario will be that they have to switch trains one time. That’s not nothing, but it’s not the end of the world.

  • lots of answers here:

    Doesn’t seem that bad for the blueliners

  • Lobby your local officials to increase funding so we can get a second blue line station in Rosslyn.

    Metro’s main objective is to servr as many possible people as it can with its current system. While some blue line riders are going to have their commute hurt with the opening of the Silver Line, metro has found that more will be helped with more trains being Orange and Silver. If, after several months they find this not to be the case, they may move some back to Blue.

    If that doesn’t work you can look for some other form of commuting that fits you better. That’s the great thing about DC. We have choices. Not some place like Austin where you drive or… maybe you’re on the one train line that runs every 20 minutes and stops at 6:30pm.

    Just because you live on the Blue Line does not guarantee the same service as the system evolves. When you choose to live somewhere you consider the not everything around you will stay the same (unless you want to be a hardcore NIMBY). It may be Metro, it may be a road, it may be the grocery store around the corner.

  • They should check out WMATA’s website. Blue line is keeping its “rush plus yellow trains” as blue trains to Greenbelt and getting 8 car trains. The only station to end up with fewer trains and longer wait times is Arlington Cemetery.

    • “The only station to end up with fewer trains and longer wait times is Arlington Cemetery.”
      Which is probably the least used Metro stop in the entire system. And only really used by tourists who have time to kill. I have to tip my hat to WMATA, they did a pretty good job with this.

    • This won’t affect me b/c I live in DC, but that really isn’t what the problem is. Anyone out in VA who wants to take the blue line to the west part of the city/Arlington (say McPherson Sq – Rosslyn) is going to lose out. Taking the yellow line is an option, but it is a bad option because it is a longer trip and you have to change trains.

      • Not the best example – McPherson Sq-Rosslyn will be served by the Orange and Silver, so there’ll be no impact. It’s really a problem for something like McPherson to Crystal City, where your options are either wait up to 12 minutes for a blue (instead of up to 6 before rush plus) OR go to L’Enfant and transfer to the Yellow.

        • You missed anon’s point. People IN Rosslyn can take orange/silver, but people trying to get TO Rosslyn or McPherson Sq from along the blue line in Arlington (Braddock Rd, king St, etc.) will have longer waits.

  • I hate petition language. All the deliberately-crafted overstating of issues and extraneous adjective. So transparent and irritating. (Remember “a quarter of a thousand!!”?)

    This one is better than most. Still easily dismissable.

  • lindz0722

    While Arlington Cemetery is the only stop REALLY affected, it does hurt the commuters going from Pentagon City or south, especially to the Blue line stops between Foggy Bottom and Metro Center. Having done that commute before moving into the city, Metro’s suggestion of taking a Yellow line train and switching to Blue/Orange at L’Enfant Plaza is a good one, but for people who aren’t used to switching lines, it does seem out of the way and inconvenient. And knowing the crowds at L’Enfant (and on Blue and Orange line trains in the morning), it definitely adds a few minutes and some hassle. So Blue line commuters will have to make up their minds whether they’d rather wait a few minutes longer at the station (since yes, frequency on service on that part of the Blue line will be cut) and keep their one-train ride where they may even have a seat, or if they’d prefer to save a few minutes but have the hassle of a transfer.

    Not ideal for those commuters, but… so it goes. Three years ago when Rush+ started there were plenty of studies done. Those with that commuting pattern (and I used to be one of them and was not happy about those Blue line service cuts, either) are by far in the minority.

  • It seems to me that the correct timing of this petition and all of the other Blue Line lobbying would have been 12-24 months ago, when these changes were first announced. I don’t ride the Metro to work at all, and in fact rarely leave the District, and even I have been aware of these changes for quite a while. Petitioning one week before the changes are to take effect is not going to get you your desired result.

  • Seems like one obvious, albeit politically unpopular, solution would be to quit servicing Arlington Cemetery altogether. I used to ride the Blue line between Rosslyn and Crystal City, and I recall few true commuters (just tourist groups) using that stop. Let the tourists arrange their own buses or transportation out to the Cemetery, and have the Blue line run along the Yellow track bridge between Franconia and Largo.
    (Afterthought: is there some maximum capacity on the bridge that can’t accommodate the blue line? Also – does this just move congestion @ Rosslyn to foot-traffic congestion at L’enfant?)

    • I don’t think it’s the bridge capacity, it’s the lack of a direct link between the (N-S) Yellow Line and (E-W) Blue Line at or around L’Enfant, or at least a link that could be used in regular service. Possibly it could be built but it’s another medium/long term solution.

      • Oh duh. I didn’t even think of that, I was so focused on the map. Please excuse my derp.
        The Arlington Cemetery stop is still worthless.

  • ….while only providing minimal additional benefits to other riders in the system….

    I don’t think an entire new Metro line that will provide service to thousands of new people is “minimal” benefit. I think it’s amazing! Good job, Metro.

  • I’m eagerly anticipating using the silver line for my twice-a-week sojourn to Tysons Corner.

  • The main problem is that blue line trains during rush hour are already at max capacity, especially during the morning commute. Crystal City and Pentagon City are both big hotel hubs and a lot of tourists feel the need (beyond me) to be on the metro platform at 8 am…but also don’t feel comfortable transferring – so they take the Blue Line to the Hill, or Smithsonian. Nothing ruins my morning quite like seeing a group of 100 high schoolers on an already packed platform at 8:15.

    As it is, my blue line commutes in the morning (Crystal City to Foggy Bottom) rival anything I experienced on the OL when living in Ballston in terms of crowdedness. I’d expect to see a large increase in offloaded trains and people try to squeeze in.

    Sure, I can transfer at L’Enfant but it adds about 15 minutes onto my commute. I’ll deal with it (no other choice, really), but it does make me crazy that metro expects the affected blue liners to pay rush hour premiums when experiencing less service than most stations do even in off times.

  • Metro’s goal at its inception was to be different from the NYC subway system. They’ve succeeded. The NY subway system works efficiently. Metro treats riders like an inconvenience, maintains filthy trains, and has the nastiest group of employees I’ve ever encountered.

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