Commuters in Northern Virginia have several options to avoid this week’s Metro shutdown between the National Airport and Braddock Road Metro stations that started at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
But before we walk you through some of the options, here’s a reminder of what this surge is all about. For the next seven days, no trains will run between the Braddock Road and National Airport stations on the Blue and Yellow lines. This means that if you are traveling north on Blue and Yellow line trains that originate at the Franconia-Springfield or Huntington Metro stations, you will have to get off at Braddock Road. From there, shuttle buses will take you to the airport station, where you can get back on the Metro and continue your trips. Meanwhile, trains headed south on the Blue and Yellow lines will terminate at the airport.
If you want to continue on with your regular commute and go through the shutdown area using the free shuttle service, you should expect crowded buses, Metro platforms and trains. Add extra time to your commute. A better option is to find an alternative, such as bus, commuter rail, Bikeshare and slugging. Officials are also encouraging you to use taxis and app-based car services such as Uber and Lyft.
Metro and some of the local bus systems are providing extra, and in some cases free, service to accommodate more passengers and get you where you need to go.
Metroway Metro will provide free and more frequent weekday service (every 6 minutes) on Metroway, the bus rapid transit service running between Braddock Road and Pentagon City.
Metrobus will add trips on the 11Y and 10A, which take passengers between Mount Vernon and Potomac Park in the District, and the Huntington and Pentagon Metro stations, respectively. The bus system will also run shuttle buses between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City stations and for airport customers between Braddock Road and National Airport stations.
DASH, the Alexandria bus system, will provide free service on route AT3 and AT4, which operate between Alexandria and the Pentagon Metro station.
Fairfax Connector will run free rush hour express shuttle buses between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon. (Weekdays only)
The Virginia Railway Express is probably a good choice for affected Metro lines that parallel VRE’s Fredericksburg line in Virginia. Many impacted commuters can board a VRE train at the Franconia-Springfield Station. VRE’s CEO Doug Allen offers these tips:
In the morning, the Franconia-Springfield Station is the Maximum Load Point on the Fredericksburg line (i.e. the point at which the train has the most riders), but about 20 percent of our riders disembark at the next station, Alexandria Station, allowing riders who boarded at Franconia-Springfield to find a seat.
For Yellow line riders starting at Huntington or Eisenhower Ave. stations, you can transfer to VRE at the Alexandria station to bypass the segment closures. A separate VRE fare ticket will be needed.
For those whose destination is Rosslyn or Courthouse Road, you can ride VRE to Crystal City station and transfer to ART Bus 43 or catch a Metro bus. Please note the ART 43 bus stop closest to the Crystal City VRE Station will be relocated to the Transitway station at 18th St. & Crystal Drive on June 18.
If your destination is the Pentagon, you can ride either VRE line to our Crystal City station and transfer to ART bus 92 or catch a Metro bus. You may also find riding VRE to our L’Enfant Station and transferring to southbound Yellow line train (towards Huntington) a good option.
An as a reminder to anyone who works in the Capitol Hill area, all our trains go to Union Station in the mornings and start from there in the afternoons.
Many Metro commuters appear to be switching to cycling to avoid the SafeTrack service disruptions. Officials have cited an increase in bike traffic around the areas affected by SafeTrack. If you want to bike to work, you have options.
Capital Bikeshare continues to provide a special SafeTrack flat rate of $2 for every single trip under 30 minutes. The red bikes are available at Crystal City, Pentagon City, Braddock Road, and King Street stations, as well as many other locations in South Arlington and Alexandria. And in anticipation of greater use this week, Bikshare has added more bikes to the Braddock Road station.
In prep for SafeTrack Surges 3 and 4, we have expanded the station at Braddock Road Metro by 10 Docks, now 29 total pic.twitter.com/HCOxA8eoCp
— Capital Bikeshare (@bikeshare) June 30, 2016
Bike trains, anyone? Alexandria will lead morning “bike trains” between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City Metro Stations via Crystal City. Northbound bike trains will depart from Braddock Road to Pentagon City at 6:30 a.m., 7 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m., and 8:30 a.m.; and southbound bike trains will depart from Pentagon City to Braddock Road at 7 a.m., 7:30 a.m., and 8 a.m. The total trip time is less than 30 minutes for most cyclists.
Biking on your own. TThe Mount Vernon Trail connects with the 14th Street and Memorial Bridges, and is a convenient route between South Arlington and the District.
A new slugline opens this week at the Franconia-Springfield Metro station for folks going into downtown Washington. The new slug line will be operating Monday through Friday — from 7 to 8 a.m. from the Franconia-Springfield Metro Kiss & Ride to L’Enfant Plaza Metro. Return lines in the afternoon will run from 4 to 5 p.m. picking up from L’Enfant and returning to the Franconia-Springfield Metro Kiss & Ride area.
For those new to slugging– it is an informal system where people queue up and wait to be picked up by a driver headed their way.