Tag Archives: communting

Metro problems

I love my commute. Just about anything is better than the commute I had in L.A., and this is far better. So far, I’ve been very lucky when it comes to delayed trains and station closures. Today, it caught up with me. I skipped lunch today because of a meeting, so I figured I’d leave a little early and get a jump on shoveling whatever snow remained on my driveway and sidewalk. I headed down to the Pentagon City metro station as they were announcing a that the Pentagon metro station was closed due to a suspicious package.

When this happens, they arrange for shuttle bus service to take passengers to a station where they can connect to another train. You should have seen the massive crowd of people waiting for 4 buses. An hour later there is still a massive crowd of people out there. I gave up and came back into the office.

I’m playing it by ear at this point, but I’ll have to make a decision on what to do by 5 PM.

(Oh, yeah, taxis. My office is right next to the Ritz Carlton and there is always a long line of taxis waiting for people outside. Not today. I thought that was odd. Now I understand why. They were all claimed quickly as soon as the metro shut down.)

Last trains

During the week, the D.C. metro runs until just after midnight (it runs until 3 AM on the weekend). I always wondered how they coordinated transfers between “last trains” of the night, and last night I found out. I managed to just barely make the last Orange Line train in the direction of New Carrollton. When I got to L’Enfant, I discovered just how the process works. It goes something like this:

You don’t want people on the Yellow or Green lines transferring to the Orange line because the last Orange line train has already come through. So the last Green Line trains of the night come into the station empty. In fact, L’Enfant is their starting point in both directions. They wait until the last Orange and Blue line trains have come into the station. This gives passengers on those trains a chance to board. (Since the Green line trains were empty coming into the station, there is no one left to transfer to Blue/Orange line trains.) Once everyone has boarded, they depart for their final destination.

It’s clever and I wouldn’t have thought of it unless I had seen it myself.