Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.
For many workers in the Washington area, Columbus Day is just another working Monday. But for federal employees and Red Line operators, it’s a holiday. With reduced transit service, what were your experiences getting to work today?
The Metro system is operating under a “Saturday Supplemental” schedule, which means the rail network is operating at Saturday headways, but opening and closing times are like Monday-Thursday service. Most Metrobus routes will be operating on Saturday schedules, but some routes will have additional trips to meet demand.
There is also major trackwork on the Red and Orange Lines. Most notably, the Red Line between Judiciary Square and Glenmont is running only every 26 minutes.
My commute takes me on the Green and Red Lines. When I boarded at Greenbelt, I had to wait a good bit longer before the train left. But despite the longer wait, the train was much emptier than usual. Few people boarded at College Park, too.
But at Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville, the number of passengers boarding was close to normal levels. I suppose the more working-class demographics in those areas could be playing a role. After all, the service industry doesn’t treat Columbus Day as a holiday.
At Fort Totten, where I change to an outbound Red train, I got lucky and only had a wait of 6 minutes. But the platform was very crowded, and when the train arrived, it was standing room only. That’s certainly odd. My reverse-commute Red trains generally seem to have less than 10 people per car.
Large crowds were waiting at Takoma and Silver Spring for inbound trains. That mirrors my experience from Saturday, when I had to go into the office. My wait for an inbound train at Silver Spring on Saturday afternoon was 21 minutes (and for the first 12 of those minutes, the PIDS said the next train was coming in 9 minutes).
WMATA certainly needs to do trackwork. But for a holiday like Columbus Day, running trains only every 26 minutes seems to be a bit of a problem. After all, the Red Line is the busiest line (even though the Glenmont side is less busy than the Shady Grove side).
What were your experiences like?