Metro's first-ever Rush+ trains got on their way Monday morning -- the first left the Franconia-Springfield station shortly before 6:30 a.m.
THE SHORT EXPLANATION
Rush+ is a program designed to reduce congestion during rush hour. Metro claims it will "improve service for nearly 110,000 customers on the Green, Yellow, Blue and Orange lines."
The only problem? Passengers will first have to get past the confusion of the new system.
Metro's Rush+ Gets Off to a Cautious Start
More trains with different destinations will allow for more transfer-free (and hopefully shorter) trips.
THE LONG EXPLANATION
Metro plans to add six trains each hour on both the Orange and Yellow lines, three in each direction. The agency expects the extra trains to add about 2,600 seats per hour to the Orange Line.
Metro Rolls Out Rush Plus Monday
The caveat: If you plan on hopping on one of those extra trains, make sure you know where it's going.
Metro calls rush hour on the Orange Line "orange crush," News4's Chris Gordon reported, because it carries more passengers per train than any other part of the system. Some of the Orange Line trains will now travel to Largo Town Center on the Blue Line instead of New Carrollton.
Some Yellow Line trains will travel from the Green Line's Greenbelt station to the Blue Line's Franconia-Springfield station. That reduces the number of Blue Line trains.
"We saw really a mix of what you would expect," Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said Monday. "We saw some positive comments where there was positive news -- on the Orange Line, where customers are getting more trains, people like that -- and then of course the negative part of all of this and what makes Rush+ possible is every third Blue Line train is transformed to a Yellow Line train, and so there are some customers at certain times of the morning that are going to be waiting an additional six minutes more than they otherwise would for a Blue Line train, and so that's where, to the extent there's been negative feedback, that's generally where it's coming from."
Metro has an explainer, which is part of a $400,000 campaign to educate riders. The campaign's effectiveness is questionable, though: The Examiner notes that only four out of the 15 riders they spoke to this week understood how Rush+ would affect them.
Here's our suggestion: Use some of that extra time Rush+ will supposedly give you to read the system's new signs carefully. The changes are marked on maps with dashed lines, indicating that they are for rush hour, 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., only.