Subway service yesterday was much smoother than it had been on Tuesday, when three Metro trains broke down in the morning rush hour, Metro officials said.
"I think we had the best morning rush hour (yesterday) we've had in a long time," said Anthony J. Stefanac, Metro's general superintendent for rail service. "Everything ran like clockwork."
Stefanac said that all schuled trains ran yesterday morning, and the trians maintained their normal five-minute intervals.
The rest of the day was not quite so rosy. About mid-day, a train broke down at the Foggy Bottom station, causing a 15-minute delay. At 4:02 p.m., a brake problem detained an inbound Rosslyn train, but the problem was corrected by 4:25, Metro officials said.
Stefanac said that one of Metro's problems has been trying to get people spread out along the station platforms so the load will be equalized among the six or eight cars on the trains. Washington riders tend to gather in the middle, particularly at the Pentagon and Rosslyn stations where there is only one entrance - at the middle. Stefanac said that the spacing along the platforms was better yesterday.
"We made announcement about every five minutes asking people to spread out," he said.
On Tuesday, Metro realigned 180 bus routes to feed the subway, forcing many commuters off their buses, into the tunnels, and onto the subway for at least part of their trips to and from work.
Several Virginia commuters, interviewed two months ago outside the Bureau of Engraving and Printing as they waited for their buses before Metro's Blue Line opened, were interviewed yesterday. They have, at one point or another, switched from strictly bus service to using the subway and bus to get to work, and they have very different reactions.
Don VandeSand, an assistant director of the General Accounting Office, was adventures and curious enough - just once - to use the subway to help him get home.
"It took half an hour longer and I haven't tried it again," VandeSand said. Now, he rides a bus all the way from the Southern Towers apartment complex in Alexandria to the Department of Agriculture in downtown Washington, where he works.
Stan Ritchick, however, made the switch for the first time Tuesday, and has found his new way to get to work an improvement.
"So far, it's been shorter in the morning. I get to work 10 minutes earlier," he said, speaking from two days' experience. Tuesday night, he got home 20 to 25 minutes late, but he said he attributes that to the mass confusion on that day.
Ritchick said his old bus ride was "crowded and late by the time it got to my stop."
Now, he leaves his North Springfield home, drives three miles to a parking area, takes the 18X bus to the Pentagon, and transfers to the subway, which takes him to 17th and I Streets NW. He works at 1730 K St. Nw as an auditor with the General Accounting Office.
"For the last two days it (his bus) has been on time and there have been more than enough seats. I don't know why it's been on time, but I hope it keeps up," Richick said.
The trip costs him $1.30 to get to work in the morning and 80 cents in the evening.
"I don't know the method for their madness," he said. But he does know that by combining bus and subway service, he now saves a dime a day.
One of Ritchick's fellow Springfield commuters, however, has not one, not two, but three complaints about his bus-to-subway switch.
"It's worse than I anticipated," said the 43-year-old computer analyst, who asked his name not be published. He complained that it now takes him half an hour longer to get to and from work using the bus and subway, which means he has to get up half an hour earlier and gets home so late he no longer can stop by the dry cleaners to pick his shirts on his way home.