Metro's fifth SafeTrack safety surge began Wednesday, with another bout of continuous single-tracking between Ballston and East Falls Church on the Orange and Silver Lines.
As with earlier surges of its aggressive, year-long maintenance plan, WMATA says long delays and crowded cars are likely.
Orange Line trains are running every 18 minutes between Vienna and Ballston. Silver Line trains are running every 18 minutes on the entire line.
The 12-day construction period will continue through July 31. It will be the last set of repairs on the Orange and Silver Lines until the fall.
But does it feel like this just happened? You're not far off: In June, crews replaced or repaired thousands of feet of rails on the inbound track between these two stations during the first SafeTrack surge. The coming repairs will bring more of the same, but this time focusing on the outbound tracks.
Riders will also suffer more of the same consequences of continuous single-tracking.
WMATA warns that riders will endure particularly long waits at the following stations:
- Vienna (Orange)
- Dunn Loring (Orange)
- West Falls Church (Orange)
- Ballston-MU (Orange/Silver)
- East Falls Church (Orange/Silver)
- Spring Hill (Silver)
- Greensboro (Silver)
- Tysons Corner (Silver)
- McLean (Silver)
As during prior safety surges, WMATA is asking riders to find alternative transportation, especially during rush hour.
Several Metrobus and Fairfax Connector routes will alter their services during rush hour to encourage some to change their commute. A free shuttle will also operate during rush hour between the Ballston-MU, East Falls Church and West Falls Church stations.
Metrobus, Fairfax Connector Enhance Service
WMATA is encouraging riders to try to use buses as much as possible. To find a bus-only trip, use WMATA's online trip planner and choose the "bus only" option. See Metrobus timetables here.
Metro has added extra rush hour service on the 5A Metrobus route ($7 per trip) between the Herndon Monroe Park & Ride and the Rosslyn station only.
The Fairfax Connector will run a special express shuttle ($4 per trip) from the Vienna Metro station (bus bay N) to the Pentagon only (pickup at bus bay L-7).
Additional rush hour service will be available on the Fairfax Connector 599 ($4 per trip) between the Reston North Park & Ride to the Pentagon only (pickup at bus bay L-7). Find more info here.
Other Ways to Avoid Metrorail
In addition to taking the bus, here are more options for getting around without Metrorail:
Biking: The Washington Area Biking Association (@WABA) previously tweeted this Google map of D.C.-area trails, bike lanes and bike-friendly roads. Find information on the best bike routes along the Orange and Silver lines here (scroll down). If you need to tune up your biking skills, check out WABA's classes on learning to ride and urban cycling online here. Need to rent a bike? Capital Bikeshare stations are located throughout the area; you can see rates or sign up here.
Carpooling/Slugging: Drivers can use the I-95 and I-495 Express Lanes for free with three people in the car (but you'll need an Express Lanes E-ZPass Flex transponder). VDOT also recommends checking out Slug-Lines.com if you're interested in slugging ("casual" carpooling to meet HOV requirements).
Driving: Drivers should expect increased traffic and are encouraged to carpool or travel outside of peak periods if possible. If you must drive, leave yourself plenty of extra time to get around. In addition, D.C. has expanded parking restrictions during SafeTrack (find details here), and will have more traffic control officers on the streets.
Lyft and/or Uber: You might want to download a ride-hailing app like Lyft or Uber if you haven't already. Find the Lyft app here for either iPhone or Android, and the Uber app on iTunes here or on Google Play here. Lyft said it will offer Metro riders discounted rides throughout SafeTrack's phases; see discount zones and info here. Uber says UberPOOL, in which passengers share cars, will be available across the entire D.C. area through the year of SafeTrack.
Additional regional buses: Check the schedules for Arlington County's ART bus.
Taxi: You can, of course, hail a cab on the street, but you can also order one online or by phone. DC.gov has a list of District taxi companies online here. Arlington County has seven authorized taxi companies; find them here.