WASHINGTON - On Inauguration Day, "all aboard" is more wishful than realistic on some Metro platforms.
Four years ago, an all-time record number of riders passed through Metro's faregates. By the time many Metro trains reached the stations closer to the inauguration ceremony, riders shivering on the platforms from the cold weather did not have any room to squeeze into the trains' cars.
Especially proactive passengers rode in the opposite direction of their destination until they found a station where trains coming though still had open space.
However, in advance of President Obama's second inauguration, Metro officials believe passengers will be a little less squished when they board Metro trains on Monday.
The biggest factor is the crowd size, which is expected to be far smaller than the crowd that packed the National Mall four years ago.
Still, Metro plans for the same level of service as 2009 - 17 hours of rush hour trains.
Additionally, Red Line trains will operate with short trips, meaning stations closer to the Mall are more likely to see trains with available space.
"Every other train will operate between Grosvenor and Silver Spring," says Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel.
"So if the train that pulls into your Red Line station is particularly crowded, chances are the next one - they'll alternate - the next one will be less crowded," he says.
It is possible to expand that concept to the Orange Line, though it is not certain to happen.
"On the Orange Line there may be some short trips that will operate between Vienna and Stadium-Armory," Stessel says.
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