Monday, February 11, 2013

Metro Helps a Little

Anyone who takes Metro on a regular basis knows the trials involved in taking Metro on the weekends. There is ALWAYS some sort of track work. Sometimes there is work on more than one part of the same line.

Here's what people on the Red Line had to deal with this past weekend:

  • Red Line trains will single track through two work zones: between Shady Grove and Twinbrook, and between Rhode Island Ave and Takoma to allow for platform reconstruction, track maintenance and third-rail upgrades.
  • Throughout the weekend, Red Line trains between Shady Grove and Glenmont will operate every 24 minutes.
  • Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, additional Red Line trains will operate between Grosvenor and NoMa-Gallaudet, providing service about every 10 minutes between those stations.
  • Customers traveling through either work zone should add about 15 minutes to their travel time.

The addition of 15 minutes to travel time is being very very optimistic. It's more like 30 minutes if not more. This is especially true if you have to transfer to another line.

But Metro is getting a little better about putting out information on what is going on. They post the schedule for track work at stations something (and I know this is hard to believe) they didn't do in the past. There are also other signs letting people know which side of the tracks trains are using during the work.

A couple of quick things. Trains were using both side of the platform at Rhode Island Avenue as far as I could tell. I'm not sure because of the weather, it was rather cold on Saturday, they'd decided not to do the work or not.

But hear's the thing I think they need to work on. The bottom of the sign says: check train destination before boarding. Yes, each passenger should check the destination before boarding. But sometimes people are not necessary going to know that destination. They could be tourists or just don't ride the Metro all that often. There is an announcement from the train operator which direction the train is going but you can't always hear that.

How about an announcement over the loud speaker system at the station itself saying the train now entering the station is going in the direction of Shady Grove via downtown Washington. Now that would be truly helpful but with Metro you take whatever help you can get even if it is only a little.

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