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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 06:06 AM ET, 06/18/2012

Metro’s Rush Plus service begins

We’ve created a mobile tool to help you see how Rush Plus could alter your commute. Use it at wapo.st/rushplusmobile.

9:40 A.M. Update:

The first morning commute under Metro’s new “Rush Plus” service has wrapped up (the Rush Plus changes are in effect on weekdays between 6:30 and 9 a.m. and 3:30 and 6 p.m.).

Riders reported plenty of issues on the Orange and Blue lines. One of the goals of Rush Plus was to alleviate the “Orange Crush” by adding three extra Orange Line trains per hour, but that didn’t appear to work this morning. Travelers had an easy time getting on trains at Vienna, Falls Church and even Ballston, but trains were significantly crowded by the time they got to Court House and Rosslyn.

The crowding appears to have peaked between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m.

Blue Line riders also had a rough go of it, with trains jammed from King Street on through to Rosslyn. The Blue Line is going to see three fewer trains per hour during the morning and evening commutes, so riders who experienced problems this morning might want to see about taking the Yellow Line instead.

The Yellow Line, which also added extra trains, didn’t appear to be particularly fraught with problems. But this could change going forward if plenty of Blue Line travelers decide to switch to that line.

Another problem occurred with the signs at stations telling riders how long it will be until the next train arrives. Some of these signs were displaying incomplete or incorrect information.

9:15 A.M. Update:

Commuters have differed so far this morning on whether or not Rush Plus had created additional crowding or other problems. Some travelers felt that the trains were less crowded and came more often, which is what Metro was hoping for; others reported issues with jammed Blue and Orange line trains heading in from the southern and western stations, respectively.

9 A.M. Update:

The Rosslyn station was one of the trouble spots we’ve been monitoring this morning. Crowded Blue and Orange Line trains arriving at that station created headaches for commuters trying to head to downtown Washington. The congestion seems to have eased on Rosslyn’s platforms as well as on the trains arriving there, reports Mihir Zaveri.

8:55 A.M. Update:

At this point in the morning commute, it’s tough to know if the crowding and congestion is specifically due to Rush Plus. The jammed Orange Line trains arriving at Court House and Rosslyn are not anything out of the norm for this point in the day.

But the Blue Line headaches being reported seem to be a different story. The crowding on those trains seems worse than usual, with commuters reporting much more severe issues on trains heading from King Street on up to Washington.

8:45 A.M. Update:

The Blue Line crowding continues to be an issue, with passengers piling onto three fewer trains per hour. A few riders have reported smooth commutes on the Yellow Line, so at least some Blue Line riders might want to think about switching to that line on Tuesday.

8:35 A.M. Update:

The Post’s Mihir Zaveri reports that the Blue Line is heavily crowded heading into Washington from Virginia. Trains are packed at Arlington Cemetery and Rosslyn.

8:30 A.M. Update:

Eric Horvath, a 28 year old IT support contractor who commutes from West Falls Church to Crystal City, gave the new rush plus system an "incomplete grade" as he waited with dozens of others for a blue line train at Rosslyn station. 

He still feels like the new system seems like a good idea. "The Orange crush that everyone talks about is a serious problem,” he said.

— Mihir Zaveri

8:15 A.M. Update:

A commuter reports that an Orange Line train bound for Washington was a lot less crowded at West Falls Chuch than usual.

8:09 A.M. Update:

Metro reports that a Blue Line train bound for Largo, which off-loaded at Pentagon earlier, is on the move. But the agency warns that there will be some lingering Blue Line delays.

8:07 A.M. Update:

The Orange Crush has apparently survived in spite of Rush Plus. Mihir Zaveri reports that Orange Line trains bound for downtown are “packed like sardines”as they arrive at the Court House station.

8:05 A.M. Update:

The display board at the King Street station does not inspire confidence. It shows two approaching Yellow Line trains with unknown destinations. (Picture courtesy of the Post’s Meg Ely.)

8 A.M. Update:

Multiple commuters have taken to Twitter to report Blue Line delays this morning, but the scene seemed rather calm at L’Enfant Plaza. The Post’s Mihir Zaveri reports that the sheer frequency of trains was keeping things moving.

As for the incorrect PID signs: Metro tweeted that while the signs show scheduled car counts, they sometimes have to switch up the equipment due to availability.

7:55 A.M. Update:

We’re now getting multiple reports of crowding on Blue and Orange Line trains heading towards downtown Washington.

Blue Line riders: If your commute allows it, consider taking another line and transferring. This won’t help if your other option is the Orange Line, but if you can ride the Yellow Line give that a shot; we haven’t heard about any major Yellow Line delays this morning.

7:45 A.M. Update:

Problems are persisting at Rosslyn. A Blue Line train bound for Largo Town Center just showed up and was packed; an Orange Line train heading into the city was just as crowded as those trains always are.

7:40 A.M. Update:

Meg Ely reports that trains are operating normally again at Pentagon after the earlier delays.

We’re hearing several reports of PID signs displaying incorrect information. We’ve heard about trains showing up that weren’t on the boards, and we’ve also heard there are some boards showing the wrong number of train cars.

One commuter reports on Twitter that Rosslyn is crowded on the platform filled with travelers heading to the city.

7:35 A.M. Update:

Robert Thomson (a.k.a. Dr. Gridlock) took this photo at the King Street station. If you arrive at King Street without knowing in advance what Rush Plus is, you could be in for a confusing commute.

7:30 A.M. Update:

The Post’s Meg Ely reports that a new Yellow Line train bound for Greenbelt has been taken out of service in Pentagon City. The station is getting crowded now that the train is out of service, and riders there are getting frustrated.

7:10 A.M. Update:

The L’Enfant Plaza station is the one spot on the Metro map where Rush Plus entirely converges, as it is the only station serviced by the Orange, Blue and Yellow lines. Yet the scene there is exceptionally calm, reports Mihir Zaveri. A Metro worker with flyers and an “Ask me about Rush Plus” button seems to have nothing to do, he says.

7 A.M. Update:

The Post’s Mihir Zaveri reports that at the L’Enfant Plaza station, Metro workers in bright green and orange vests are handing out flyers about Rush Plus and answering questions.

And don’t let the widespread coverage from news organizations (and Metro’s own promotion) convince you there is complete awareness of Rush Plus. Zaveri reports that a federal worker who rides from L’Enfant to Federal Center hadn’t even heard of Rush Plus.

6:45 A.M. Update:

We’ve also heard one report of an incorrect PID sign at the Gallery Place station. Robert Thomson (a.k.a. Dr. Gridlock) just boarded a southbound Yellow Line train that never showed up on the board.

The Post’s Cindy Boren also tells us that there aree calm conditions at the Van Dorn Street station, with no confusion or mayhem there.

6:30 A.M. Update:

It’s all quiet so far throughout the Metro system. (It’s quiet throughout the region, actually. Commuters heading out into misty, gray weather aren’t experiencing any major headaches so far.) The first report of issues comes from the Post’s Meg Ely, who tells us that there are some Blue Line delays heading to Franconia-Springfield.

6 A.M. Original Post:

Good morning, commuters! Metro rolls out Rush Plus this morning, a major overhaul of rush hour service. There will be more trains on the Orange and Yellow lines and fewer trains on the Blue Line. Some Orange Line trains will now split off at Stadium-Armory and head to Largo Town Center, while some Yellow Line trains will extend to Greenbelt and Franconia-Springfield. (The Red and Green lines are unaffected.)

We’ll be monitoring the morning commute and letting you know just how this new service is going.

Follow the latest on the Monday morning commute here (wapo.st/drgridlock) and on Twitter (@drgridlock).

We will have reports coming in from throughout the system, but we also want your help. If you’re riding Metro, let us know how you think Rush Plus is going. Share your experiences in the comments section below or tweet them with the hashtag #RushPlus.

We’ve created a mobile tool to show how Rush Plus will impact your commute. Check it out at wapo.st/rushplusmobile. (It also works on tablets and smartphones, so you can visit that link if you’re already out.)

For more on Rush Plus, read this list of things you need to know, watch a short video explaining the changes or look at our user’s guide.

Click here to receive e-mail alerts for major traffic and transit issues.

By  |  06:06 AM ET, 06/18/2012

Tags:  Metro

 
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