Metro reboots faulty ‘next-train’ signs for Blue Line

This was among the things Blue Line riders complained about this week as they dealt with less frequent service: The next-train signs on the platforms weren’t always telling them when a Blue Line train would reach their platform.

PID at Rosslyn Blue Line trains became less frequent this week. (Robert Thomson – The Washington Post)

They were right. Some of the signs were malfunctioning, showing only the next three trains, all of which were Orange Line.

“Thanks for bringing this to our attention,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said Friday afternoon. “We appreciate the feedback.” Metro heard about the signs not just from me, but also through social media during the week. Some of Metro’s IT staffers went out to troubleshoot the display panels and found that some needed to be rebooted so that a coding change could take effect.

“This has now been resolved,” Stessel said, “so all PIDS [passenger information displays] should be doing what we want them to do.” The stations I had mentioned were King Street or McPherson Square or Farragut West, but the check wasn’t limited to signs at those stations. So if you’re waiting for your Blue Line ride while trying to calculate if you would save time by switching to the Yellow Line, the platform signs should be helping now.

One of the three trains listed on the boards should be the next Blue Line train, even if it’s not among the first three scheduled to arrive at your platform. If you don’t see that, report the problem to Metro.

Of course, the core problem for these riders is that a Blue Line train might be at least three trains away. No reboot is going to change that. To prepare for the addition of Silver Line trains starting Saturday, Metro transferred two Blue Line trains per hour over to the Yellow Line.

Speaking of the Silver Line, the transit authority just added the new line to its service status box on the Metro home page. My heart sank when I saw this, because next to the new “SV” in the status box is a red “Alert” sign. What’s this? The thing isn’t even open yet.

Well, actually, it’s just a notice that the new line is scheduled to begin service at noon Saturday — something you can find out just by putting your computer mouse over the word “Alert.” (Save a click to another page.) You also will notice the bus alerts now appear on the main status page, also saving some time.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.



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Robert Thomson · July 25, 2014

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