Taking Metro to go out this weekend? Make sure you're home by midnight

- Dreaded by some, this weekend Metrorail launched SafeTrack, a massive overhaul to improve safety and service reliability.

As of Friday, Metro eliminated all late night trains and began closing stations at midnight.

Then early Saturday, construction caused around the long single-tracking between the East Falls Church and Ballston stations in Virginia. This first phase of SafeTrack lasts until June 16 and is expected to cause the worst delays for Orange and Silver line riders. Wait times for some trains are expected to be 18 minutes, even during rush hour.

FOX 5 found some riders at the East Falls Church station didn’t notice much of a difference as they waited 20 minutes for trains on Saturday afternoon.

However Rosana Ng, visiting D.C. from Hong Kong, and said she was very surprised by her experience on Metro.

“Looking at this like, ‘What’s going on here?’” Ng said.

She said she’s used to mass transit consistently being punctual.

“This is a surprise,” she said. “It’s a train! It should be on time.”

Ng was in town for a work conference and was riding metro with her colleague, Shawn Sweeney, who lives in the area.

“It’s just a matter of learning to adapt and be patient,” said Sweeney. 

He said even though he’s used to waiting, he’s still concerned what his commute on the silver line will look like on Monday.

“Even people who are regular drivers, they’re going to be affected by this too,” he said.

Sweeney said his workplace is discussing video conferencing options during SafeTrack.

“The Metro is certainly prompting more conversations about whether or not employees actually have to be in the office or if they can work from home,” Sweeney said. 

Weekday train service along those lines will operate as follows:

  • Orange Line trains between Vienna and New Carrollton will operate every 18 minutes
  • Additional Orange Line trains will operate between Ballston and New Carrollton only every 6 minutes during AM/PM rush and every 10 minutes during midday and evening
  • Silver Line trains will operate every 18 minutes
  • At 10:00 p.m. all trains will operate every 20 minutes

This weekends schedule changes elsewhere on the system will involve Red Line trains operating every 8-16 minutes; Orange, Silver, Blue, and Green Line trains operating every 18 minutes; Yellow Line trains operating every 18 minutes between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Sq only.

Orange and Silver line trains may be very crowded, especially during rush hour due to severe service reductions.

Expect significantly longer wait times at the following stations:

 

Vienna Orange Line Wiehle-Reston East  Silver Line
Dunn Loring  Orange Line Spring Hill  Silver Line
West Falls Church  Orange Line Greensboro  Silver Line
Ballston  Orange Line   Silver Line Tysons Corner  Silver Line
East Falls Church  Orange Line   Silver Line McLean  Silver Line

COMPLETE LIST OF 15 SERVICE CHANGES, WHICH METRO CALLS "SAFETY SURGES," INCLUDED IN THE PLAN

TRAVEL ALTERNATIVES

Fairfax County SafeTrack Page (FairfaxCounty.gov/SafeTrack) - Resources for commuters in Fairfax County during Metro's continuing track work
Arlington County SafeTrack Page - Know your options for Metro's SafeTrack plan in Arlington County

BUS 
(View map of bus alternatives)

  • Additional weekday rush hour service will be provided on the following routes:
    Metrobus 2A, 38B, 3Y5A (between Herndon & Rosslyn only)
    (click for additional weekday rush schedule PDF, added trips in green for Metrobus)
  • Free supplemental rail shuttle bus service will operate between Ballston and East Falls Church, and Ballston and West Falls Church.
  • Special weekday rush hour express Fairfax Connector shuttle bus service will operate between the Vienna Station and the Pentagon
  • Additional Fairfax Connector weekday rush hour service will be provided on Route 599
  • Larger buses will run on Arlington Transit (ART) Route 52 (Virginia Hospital Center/Ballston/East Falls Church) and 55 (Lee Highway/East Falls Church/Rosslyn) to accommodate additional capacity

Customers should also consider MetrobusArlington Transit (ART) and Fairfax Connector alternate routes. 

Metrobus -

At East Falls Church - 

2A - Dunn Loring to East Falls Church, Ballston (enhanced weekday rush schedule | regular timetable)
3A - East Falls Church to Annandale
3T - East Falls Church to McLean
3Y - East Falls Church to Rosslyn, Farragut West, Farragut North, McPherson Square
       (enhanced weekday rush schedule | regular timetable)
15K, 15L - East Falls Church to Rosslyn
26A - East Falls Church to NoVA Annandale

At Ballston - 

1A - Vienna to Ballston 
1B - Dunn Loring to Ballston (AM/PM rush only)
1E - Seven Corners to Ballston
10B - Hunting Point to Ballston
22A22C - Ballston to Pentagon
23B - Crystal City to Ballston (AM/PM rush only)
23T - Shirlington to Tysons Corner Center (AM/PM rush only)
25B - Ballston to Van Dorn St
38B - Ballston to Farragut Square (enhanced weekday rush schedule - coming soon! | regular timetable)

West of Vienna - 

5A - Dulles to Herndon-Monroe Park &  Ride Lot, Rosslyn, L'Enfant Plaza. Supplemental service Herndon to Rosslyn only.
      (enhanced weekday rush schedule | regular timetable)

Arlington Transit (ART) - 

ART 52 - Ballston - Virginia Hospital Center - East Falls Church
ART 53 - Ballston - Old Glebe - East Falls Church
ART 55 - East Falls Church - Lee Highway - Rosslyn
ART 62 - Courthouse - Lorcom Lane - Ballston

Fairfax Connector - 

Supplemental Express Service to Pentagon from:
Vienna Metrorail Station
Reston North Park & Ride

Existing Express Service to Pentagon from:
Backlick North Park & Ride
Gambrill Road Park & Ride
Reston North Park & Ride
Saratoga Park & Ride

Loudoun County Transit -
Routes serving West Falls Church will be relocated to Ballston

 

COMMUTER RAIL

For customers driving on I-66 from west of Vienna, consider taking the Virginia Railway Express (VREManassas Line (via Burke Centre) to Crystal City, L’Enfant Plaza or Union Station

BIKING

Capital Bikeshare - A bike transit service of the departments of transportation in the District of Columbia,Arlington County, the City of Alexandria and Montgomery County.

Washington Area Bicyclist Association - Information on bike options in SafeTrack Surge zones

Bike Arlington - Information to make it easy for cyclists in Arlington to get where they need to go, including more than one hundred miles of multi-use trails, on-street bike lanes, and designated bike routes.

Washington & Old Dominion Trail - scenic bike route from Herndon, Vienna, Dunn Loring, Falls Church.

PARKING

Orange and Silver Line customers using the Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, East Falls Church and Wiehle-Reston East Metro Park & Ride facilities should consider other park and ride options, including Park & Ride facilities on the Blue or Yellow lines.

CARPOOLS, VANPOOLS & OTHER RESOURCES

Commuter Connections - Provides commute options to get to work and get you home in an unexpected emergency. Among many services, it offers ridematching for carpools and vanpools and administers the Guaranteed Ride Home program. 

Fairfax County Ride Sources -  The RideSources program provides commuters with free ridesharing information, including ridematching assistance to form or join carpools or vanpools.

Commuter Page - Arlington County website with helpful links and information regarding local commute options.

Loudoun County Commuter Services - Links to commute options for carpools. vanpools, biking, transit and more.

goDCgo - Resource for transportation information and options for getting into and around the District.

RideSmart Solutions - Guide to alternative transportation options in Prince George's County.

Vanpool Alliance - A public-private partnership to support vanpool riders and providers in Northern Virginia.

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