Metro is set to unwrap an enhanced rush-hour service which kicks off on June 18.
Called Rush Plus, the expansion of rush-hour service will ease crowding, improve the commuting experience for Metrorail riders on the Yellow, Orange, Blue and Green lines and offer riders new transfer-free travel opportunities, said Metro spokesman Dan Stossel. The realignment reflects changing ridership patterns.
Twenty-one Metrorail stations will see an increase in train service. The additional trains will move between Mt. Vernon Square and Greenbelt and between Vienna and Courthouse and riders will be able to take advantage of the ability to transfer between stations on several lines.
"This has been in the works for a while now," he said. "We're nearing the final stages of completion of the first phase of the Silver Line and in order to accommodate the additional Silver Line trains, we need to make space at the Rosslyn Station."
Stossel said the most congested section along the system is between Courthouse and Rosslyn and the additional trains will ease the congestion.
"There has been increased construction and development along the eastern side of downtown. This is a response to that change in ridership demand. There will be additional space in the tunnel and additional Orange Line trains. There will be three more trains an hour, especially in Virginia."
The Silver Line is expected to open late next year and run out to Tyson's Corner and Wiehle Avenue.
Not all passengers will see more trains during rush-hour. Those who will be forced to wait longer on train platforms will be those riders on the Blue Line. Direct service to Rosslyn and west to Vienna will drop from 10 to seven trains an hour during rush-hour, as will direct Blue Line service to western downtown stations like Foggy Bottom and McPherson Square.
The former will affect about 3,300 riders and increase morning rush-hour wait times from six minutes to nine minutes [with some wait times predicted as long as 12 minutes and a third of riders predicted to have longer waits] while the second downtown dimension will affect 9,000 riders.
What the changes mean, Stossel said, is that during rush-hour there will be a net increase in the number of trains on selected lines and as a result, more than 100,000 riders will experience faster service. Blue Lines coming into the District will be switched to Yellow Line trains and every third train will be yellow.
With the new changes, passengers will be able to ride a Yellow Line Train from the Franconia-Springfield Station to Greenbelt without transferring. And a rider boarding at Columbia Heights can travel to Reagan National Airport without transferring.
"The mix of colors will shift a little ... Pentagon City will see more yellow and fewer blue trains than we see today," said Stossel. "It's important to know that trains will depart from Vienna and go to Largo and New Carrollton."
On the map, trains that operate between Franconia-Springfield and Greenbelt on the extended Yellow Line are illustrated by dashed lines to indicate rush-hour only to both new endpoints. A dashed extension on the Orange Line had been added on the map between Stadium-Armory and Largo Town Center to reflect the new trains that will operate between Vienna and Largo Town Center.