Blue, Yellow Line Punctuality Plummeted During SafeTrack in March

If you took the Blue Line in March, you had less than a 1-in-2 chance of arriving on time, according to a new report from Metro.

Most of the delays in March were related to Safetrack, Metro's aggressive repair program, but Metro is still falling short of its goal for on-time arrivals, according to the report.

The lines that have struggled the most this year so far were hobbled by SafeTrack service changes, which reduced train frequency and continuous single-tracking in some areas.

Just 45 percent of Blue Line trains and 53 percent of Yellow Line trains were on time in March. Those delays coincide with SafeTrack work that began March 4 and continued throughout the month.

Although that SafeTrack surge has ended, some Blue and Yellow line riders say the delays were downright unbearable.

Christopher Sebesta said he had to deal with a 90-minute trip to go just three stops on Metro, from Huntington to King Street on the Yellow Line.


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"I would get to the station and hopefully wait 25 to 30 minutes for a train," Sebesta said.

Metro aims to have trains arrive on time 75 percent of the time, according to the report. In 2016, the transit agency missed that goal by just a single percentage point. In the first quarter of 2017, however, just 69 percent of trains were on time.

But Blue and Yellow lines weren't the only ones with trouble in 2017. Orange Line trains were on time just 55 percent of the time in January.

The report also noted that trains were less likely to be on time during rush hours and weekends.

Roughly two-thirds of rush hour trains and weekend trains have been on time so far in 2017 -- while almost three-quarters of midday and evening trains were. Late-night train service fared even better, with 82 percent of trains running on time.

SafeTrack is expected to wrap up this summer, but it may end up permanently keeping some riders away.

"Yeah, it's getting a little old and annoying, so I wish it was over soon," said Metro rider Edith Bosshart.

Metro is banking on riders coming back once SafeTrack ends, but Stafford Ward, who commutes from King Street to work at the Pentagon, has discovered the bus.

"I've been frustrated -- I decided I'm not going to wait -- I'm not going to wait at a train stop," Ward said.

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