Overflowing Platform Crowds Frustrate DC Commuters, Adding To SafeTrack Woes

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

D.C. Metro SafeTrack repairs are in full swing with two stations temporarily closed, leaving commuters to grapple with overflowing crowds on platforms and packed trains unable to keep up with rider demand.

Metro officials said there is an uptick in commuter traffic at stations near affected maintenance areas. Passengers using the L’Enfant Plaza station are reporting unusually large crowds as riders from neighboring areas affected by the SafeTrack repairs use alternative routes, reports WUSA9.

“It’s probably about three times more crowded than it normally is,” Badu Hunt, a rider from Maryland, told WUSA9. “It’s unreal.”

Portions of the orange, blue and silver lines are closed for 16 days between Eastern Market and Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road for SafeTrack Surge 2 repairs. This has greatly impacted service between the District and Prince George’s County, Maryland. Commuters are dealing with major service disruptions throughout the Metro system due to the track work. The Stadium-Armory and Potomac Avenue stations are closed for the entirety of the 16-day shutdown. (RELATED: Police Beef Up Security At DC Metro Stations To Combat Rising Crime)

Metro officials are noting increased ridership on the green line during the Surge 2 SafeTrack repairs and decreased ridership in the system overall, as commuters opt for driving. The Suitland station, servicing the green line, saw a staggering 40 percent increase in ridership earlier this week. Though overall Metro ridership has decreased by roughly 4.5 percent throughout the system since Surge 2 repairs began.

Repairs are generally ahead of schedule according to Metro officials, who are touting the success of early SafeTrack maintenance. Metro workers finished installing underground weather-tight seals located on third-rail power feeds and jumper cables meant to protect against future track fires.

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