Is the Blue Line getting enough 8-car trains?

Yesterday, DC Metro tried to placate Blue Line riders by stating that up to half of Blue Line trains during rush hour would be 8 cars.  While this seems to indicate that Metro is starting to understand and respond to the drastic impact of their cuts on Blue Line riders, it will not be nearly enough to alleviate overcrowding. Importantly, even this response will not be enough to prevent the WMATA from violating their own operating standards related to overcrowding.

How many people does Metro say are acceptable to have on a rail car at a time? In their DC Metro says that for planning purposes expected peak loads are “Not to exceed 100 [Passengers Per Car] in the peak hour of service” (pg 5-4).

From the WMATA Vital Signs , you can see that during the past 12 months the Blue Line has averaged a peak load of 89.8 passengers per car during the PM peak rush at Foggy Bottom (for comparison, the infamous “Orange Crush” of the Orange Line has averaged 86.6 passengers per car during the PM rush at the same station). The Blue Line currently has the most crowded PM average car load of any line in the system — but Metro wants to make it even more crowded by cutting service .

Right now DC Metro is running 7 six-car Blue trains per hour, so given current car loads there are 3,877 Blue Line passengers going through the station per hour during the PM rush.  In order to get down to Metro’s stated standard of 100 people per car, they need at least 39 cars per hour.  With the planned service cuts, the Blue line will have just 5 trains per hour, meaning that Metro needs to make at least 88% of Blue Line trains have 8 cars .

Under their current plan of having ( up to) half of Blue trains having 8-cars, WMATA will only reduced the peak load to 111 passengers per car, meaning that unless there is a mass exodus of Blue Line riders they will be exceeding their stated operating standards.

Perhaps WMATA operating standards are flexible and they are adjusting them to meet current needs.  But if long-standing plans are now flexible, maybe WMATA should also reconsider their plan to cut Blue Line service to just 5 trains per hour.

Take Action and tell WMATA not to cut Blue Line service again, and certainly not to do so without at least giving all Blue Line trains 8 cars.

Posted in Overcrowding
3 comments on “ Is the Blue Line getting enough 8-car trains?
  1. Sympathetic says:

    “up to half” Mmm hmm…

    I ride OL but it seems like 8 car trains are already pretty few and far between on the BL and OL in recent weeks. With cars taken away to compose the SL trains, I don’t see how they can even pretend to offer any 8 car trains to help out the BL.

  2. Alanne says:

    On the Plan It Metro site they had an article about which buses Blue Line riders could take to get downtown. They mentioned the 38B, which runs from Ballston through Georgetown and downtown, and the 7Y, which comes from Southern Towers, to the Pentagon, along Memorial Bridge to Constitution and then on to Federal Triangle.

    I posted that those options do not help people who are coming from the major bus hub that is the Pentagon, or further south in VA, to reach Foggy Bottom. Not everyone goes to the State Dept. Arriving on a bus that is 4-5 blocks south of FB, when many people also work 4-5 blocks North of FB.

    No reply from WMATA. A bus from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom and Farragut West would help out a lot with crowding.

  3. Alexandriaboy says:

    HA! Second day in a row that the BL train car I was on (Rosslyn-Pentagon) had over 120 pax onboard! I counted!!! That’s 20% OVER WMATAs own standards… Seriously follow your own standards and restore the BL cuts

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