Riders sound off on first day of Rush+

Metro hopes the schedule change will accommodate more riders. (WTOP)

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Major changes came to Metrorail Monday in the form of rush- hour enhancements called Rush+.

The new service reduces the wait time for a train at 21 stations during the morning and evening rushes.

One station in the system – Arlington Cemetery on the Blue Line – is seeing a decrease in the number of trains running during peak travel times.

WTOP talked to evening drive riders about their experience Monday night to gather first impressions

At the Rosslyn Metro station, an Orange Line rider said his train was less crowded than usual, but another Orange Line commuter said her train was standing room only.

Other riders didn’t notice a change, and quite a few didn’t know anything about Rush+.

“Operationally, Rush+ service went off as advertised, so all of the Rush+ trains operated and they went where they were supposed to go,” says Metro Spokesman Dan Stessel.

“The customer feedback on it generally was positive, of course there are some folks who are negatively affected. Those primarily are Blue Line customers,” Stessel says.

Stessel adds that the complaints were understandable.

“What makes Rush+ possible is every third Blue Line train has been transformed into a Yellow Line train which clears up space in the Rosslyn Tunnel,” saus Stessel. “That means that some Blue Line customers end up waiting up to six minutes longer than they otherwise would for a Blue Line train.”

It will take time to find out how the rush-hour overhaul is working for riders.

“Just like when traffic patterns change on roadways, the lanes will change or they’ll change the traffic pattern and it will still take several days for the human behavior to catch up with the change that has occurred,” says Stessel. “So we would want to give it a few days certainly to let things settle down with adjustments that folks will naturally make.”

Customer service staff at stations are available to help riders, says Stessel, especially at station affected by the new service.

Here are some other statistics about Rush+ from Metro:

  • During peak periods, more than 46,000 Orange Line customers will benefit from six additional trains per hour (three in each direction) between Vienna and Largo Town Center. This will result in 18 percent more capacity on the line, or approximately 2,600 seats per hour.
  • For 33,500 Blue and Yellow line customers in Virginia, Rush+ will increase the share of Yellow Line trains, meaning more direct and faster access to downtown via the Yellow Line bridge. A smaller number (about 16,000) weekday peak-period customers who travel on Blue Line trains via Arlington Cemetery will experience a maximum of 6 minutes additional waiting time for a train.
  • Stations north of downtown on the Green and Yellow lines will benefit from 18 additional trains during rush hour periods. Stations from Shaw-Howard to Greenbelt will get six additional Yellow Line trains each peak hour (three in each direction) between Greenbelt and Franconia-Springfield. And for the first time, riders will be able to travel from Greenbelt to Franconia-Springfield without transferring. More than 28,000 customers will benefit from the change, Metro says.

Metro produced this video to better explain the changes:

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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