Thursday, November 20, 2008

Metro Plans for 1.6 Million(!) Riders Jan. 20

Yes, you did read that headline correctly. As reported earlier on Track Twenty-Nine, Metro expects to move 1.6 million riders on rail & bus for Barack Obama's inauguration. They just released their plans for the day. I'll outline them below.


But first, don't forget to vote in my poll. Do you think Metro is being overly optimistic? Tell us what you think by voting.


Metro's Plans
View the Press Release here.

Hours:
  • Metro will be open from 4am 1/20 until 2am 1/21
  • Continuous Rush Hour service will be operated from 4am-7pm 1/20

Service

  • Archives Station [GR/YL] will be CLOSED all day 1/20
  • Smithsonain Station [BL/OR] will have it's northern entrance (Nat'l Mall) CLOSED all day 1/20
  • Many escalators will be turned off due to crowding
  • Passengers should expect major delays in boarding immediately after the event
  • Wait times could be around 30 minutes (T29 projects higher wait times, based on 7/4/08)

Parking:

  • Parking will be free all day on 1/20
  • Metro expects all 59,000 spaces to be filled on 1/20
*I'll update you on MARC and VRE Service when information becomes available. Stay tuned.

5 comments:

thm said...

The full-day rush hour service is great, but their parking and bus plans are amazingly stupid.

Fully-subsidized (free) parking not only loses money, but you can be sure that the spaces will all fill up by about 7am, if not earlier, and that there will be an absolute mess of people trying to look for parking somewhat near the Metro.

And they're going to run Saturday service for the buses! How do they expect these 1.6 million to get to Metrorail? Only about 250,000, at the very most, could come by car. I can understand delays and traffic downtown, but what about the heavy-ridership routes that serve areas with no Metrorail?

I'd think there are plenty of bus routes that terminate at outlying Metro stations where demand could be quite heavy. Like the A-series going to Anacostia. Or buses that terminate at RI-Ave, or Silver Spring?

It also looks like a vote of no-confidence for Metro Extra on Ga Ave.

Matt' said...

thm,
I understand your concerns about the parking situation. If demand is as high as it looks like it's going to be, they should charge for parking as a demand-management function.

However, they don't want to discourage anyone from riding. Places like Vienna fill up every day, and will certainly fill up on 1/20, but at stations like Prince George's Plaza, where parking is rarely full, free parking will encourage some who might not take Metro to take Metro.

And there's one more consideration which is even more important.

You have to have a SmarTrip card to exit or enter most Metro parking facilities. With hundreds of thousands of out-of-towners coming, many, perhaps most, will not have SmarTrip cards, won't know they need them, and will cause major jam ups at exits.

Plus, free parking just looks like a nice gesture from WMATA. So does charging off-peak fares all day, but offering rush-hour service.

Thanks for commenting!

kenf said...

It's a far cry from Jan. 1977. Jimmy Carter's inauguration was the first to benefit from our beloved METRO. It didn't go that far, but I understand some of the news media used it to get from the Capitol to their bureaus after the main event.

avocadoinparadise said...

Good plan by metro, all except starting rush hour service at 4am! What time does this inauguration start? People aren't going down there at 4am! Geez.

Matt' said...

avocado,
I also agree that rush hour service at 4am seems a bit early.

As for the inauguration, I think the speech starts at like 9, but I'm not 100% sure. I know that Mayor Fenty's office expects people to camp out on the mall for good seats. I'm not sure how the National Park Service will deal with that.

It's a good bet that trains will be pretty popular by 5:30am.