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Metro’s Orange Line to Run Shorter Course, Closing Several Stops This Summer

Don’t expect your regular train at the westernmost end of Washington Metro’s Orange Line this summer. A repair and upgrade program will shut off the mass transport system’s three stops in the region.

According to the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA), no train will service the Vienna, Dunn Loring and East Falls Church stations. The stop in service will last from May 23rd and September 7th. West Falls Church will remain open, but only with fewer trains, for the same period.

Riders of the Silver Line, which runs north after East Falls Church, will also experience shortages from McLean to Wiehle-Reston East. Theirs, however, will only be in the form of less frequent trains. No station on that line will be off-duty.

WMATA has shared the summer reductions to its service with the Falls Church legislature. Its representatives joined a City Council meeting on February 3rd.

Growing in Popularity 

Washington Metro recorded a sudden increase in demand to its services last year. Its ridership grew by 20,000 trips per weekday in 2019.

In total, some 182 million riders took Metrorail last year, up from 175 million in 2018. That ended a downward trend, which characterized most of the prior decade.

The increase in ridership occurred despite summer-long closure of six stations south of National Airport and month-long federal government shutdown.

WMATA attributed the higher demand to improvement in its service quality. That is “reflecting increasing customer confidence in Metro’s reliability and on-time performance,” according to its January 15th press release.

Stations in Falls Church have significantly contributed to Metrorail’s 2019 performance. McLean, for instance, was its fastest growing station. Its ridership grew by 28% year-on-year.

New Trains, Rare Delays

Last year, WMATA continued to replace old railcars with new ones. The average age of its fleet is under 13 years today. As a result, an impressive 90 percent of all trips arrived on time on weekdays.

The service provider also kicked off its Rush Hour Promise in 2019. That program returns riders their fare if their rush-hour trip takes more than 10 minutes longer than usual.

It is uncertain how this summer’s reductions will impact its 2020 performance.

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