Metro highlights changes for local rail and bus commuters
When Yellow Line service is restored at Huntington Metro station in early May following the completion of the Yellow Line Bridge and Tunnel Rehabilitation Project, the trains will operate nearly twice as frequently as they did before construction began.
Starting May 7, Metrorail Yellow Line trains - which will provide service between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square in Washington, D.C. - will run every eight minutes instead of every 15 minutes, according to a spokesperson from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). That level of frequency has not been seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Yellow Line’s off-peak service (after 9:30 p.m. weekdays and on weekends) will be every 12 minutes, also as in pre-pandemic times. Metro’s Blue+ rail service from Huntington to New Carrollton will be discontinued.
Trains could operate even more frequently later this year if the WMATA board of directors approves the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget proposal. Under that plan, Yellow Line service would increase to every six minutes daily up until 9:30 p.m. and every 10 minutes after that time. To accomplish this, Metro would continue turning back Yellow Line trains at Mount Vernon Square and employ additional trains and operators. Metro is gradually returning more 7000-series trains to passenger service and will be employing a mix of them and legacy trains on the Yellow Line, the Metro spokesperson said.
Metrobus service also will be changing this summer. Starting June 26, 11Y service between Mount Vernon and Potomac Park will be reinstated as a Metrobus Express route with standard express fares. The 11C and DC3 shuttle service will be discontinued at that time.
Many Mount Vernon and Fort Hunt area residents who commute into Washington, D.C. had voiced their support for the return of the 11Y bus, which stopped running during the pandemic. According to WMATA’s FY24 Budget Public Engagement Report, 21% of the 250 written comments Metro received about the proposed budget related to bus service, including support for reinstating the 11Y Mount Vernon Express bus.
“The 11Y has long been an important source of transportation for commuters in south Alexandria,” read one of the written comments. “I fully support its being revived. The nearest Metro stops (Huntington and Springfield) are too far for most locals and the 11Y fills a much needed void in the area that reduces car traffic and provides Metro with a loyal base of riders.”
All in all, public survey responses collected by Metro showed that 55% of respondents wanted to reinstate the 11Y, while 5% didn’t. The remainder of respondents said they weren’t sure, which Metro officials attributed to the high percentage of customers not impacted by the bus service.