(Mostly) smooth sailing on Metro despite Yellow Line shutdown

A packed Yellow Line train headed from L'Enfant Plaza from Gallery Place on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (WTOP/Max Smith)

WASHINGTON — No news is good news.

Despite the fact that Metro has shut down the Yellow Line for two weeks to repair the rails on the bridge over the Potomac River, D.C.-area commuters seemed to be managing the morning rush just fine — provided they remembered the shutdown was even happening.

“I didn’t realize that, just until now,” one commuter, who identified himself as Vincent, told WTOP’s Melissa Howell at Pentagon Station.

He said it won’t be too much of an inconvenience.

“The Yellow Line is quicker, but the Blue Line takes me to the same location — takes me about two stops more.”

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Metro plans to run every other normally scheduled rush hour Blue Line train from Huntington rather than Franconia-Springfield at rush hour, providing trains every 16 minutes from each endpoint.

From King Street to Largo Town Center, there should be a normal number of Blue Line trains, but riders have reported that they’re far more crowded without Yellow Line service.

The Blue Line isn’t the only subway line facing crowding.

Delays have also hit the Orange and Silver lines to New Carrollton and Largo Town Center.

The evening rush could see issues as well.

The Yellow Line shutdown map. Click to enlarge.

“Coming back is gonna affect me a lot,” Vincent said. “That’s the big problem.”

To help ease transportation pains, Metro is running free express shuttle service between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon, and between Pentagon Station and L’Enfant Plaza, each weekday until 8 p.m.

According to Ruth Mazzella, it shouldn’t be much of a problem for commuters.

“We’ve done that before, because the last closure, there were the buses as well,” she told WTOP.

In fact, it might be better for commuters like her.

“They run a shuttle out of the Pentagon, straight to Franconia, and it’s faster,” Mazzella said. “Hopefully I get to work faster.”

There are also other shutdowns to be aware of.

On the first weekend of the work, Dec. 1-2, Metro plans to shut down five Green Line stations.

On Saturday and Sunday, Navy Yard, Waterfront and Archives will be closed, along with the Yellow and Green Line platforms only at Gallery Place-Chinatown and L’Enfant Plaza.

Green Line riders using those stations will be served by shuttle buses only.

Both weekends of the Yellow Line bridge shutdown, there will be no additional shuttle buses in Virginia. Blue Line trains will be scheduled every 16 to 20 minutes to and from both Huntington and Franconia-Springfield.

WTOP’s Melissa Howell and Max Smith contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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