Metro makes increased Red Line service permanent

Increased Red Line service was formally made permanent Thursday, and the Metro Board is optimistic that recent similar service boosts will help bring riders back to the system while reducing delays.

The Metro Board voted unanimously to continue running all Red Line trains to Shady Grove, rather than turning every other rush hour train back toward downtown at rush hour.

Since the change was made in December, ridership has risen and delays have dropped on the Red Line.

In addition to adding more trains and cutting waits for riders through the Rockville, Maryland, area, the change eliminates a common cause of delays: turning trains around in the middle of the line.

Metro eliminated its other two regular midline turnarounds earlier this month by extending all trains on the other side of the Red Line past Silver Spring to Glenmont.

In late May, Metro extended all Yellow Line trains past Mt. Vernon Square and Fort Totten to Greenbelt.

Metro hopes those changes similarly help ridership bounce back somewhat thanks to the increased service and smoother rides.

At Yellow and Green Line stations, the changes also offset schedule cuts implemented in 2017.

Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader said the overall travel time for riders on those lines has dropped — saving commuters minutes each day.

Besides diminished delays, the additional service means crowds are more evenly spaced across different trains.

Metro initially had extra supervisors at Shady Grove to monitor any issues. Leader said the extra staff is no longer necessary. Extra staffing is now limited to those required to operate the additional trains.

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