SafeTrack surge 13 will mean single tracking and fewer trains for Yellow Line users at Huntington.
Yellow Line riders who use the Huntington Metro station for their daily commutes are in for a month of disruption, thanks to the beleaguered subway system’s latest SafeTrack surge.
The surge started Saturday and runs through April 9. It is split into two parts, both of which will mean a dramatic reduction in service between Huntington and Reagan National Airport.
The first phase of the surge, between March 4 and April 1, involves single tracking between Braddock Road and Huntington (there is also single-tracking between Van Dorn and Braddock on the Blue Line). Trains will only run out of Huntington every 24 minutes. Metro bluntly states that “all Yellow Line riders south of Reagan National Airport should consider alternate travel options during this time.”
However, there are few easy options for riders who rely on the Yellow Line to get to the city. Driving, teleworking , biking and the Virginia Railway Express have been floated as possible alternatives. Metro has also increased service of the 10A bus line that runs between Huntington and the Pentagon. Once at the Pentagon, riders would need to switch back to the train.
Metro’s guidelines for the first phase of SafeTrack surge 13. (WMATA.com)
Michael Robbins, who typically commutes on Metro from Huntington to L’Enfant Plaza, said he will use the 10A as an alternative, but is skeptical that it will be reliable.
“Supposedly there will be more of them,” Robbins said. “But last summer’s SafeTrack experience leads me to believe that they will seriously underestimate what is needed.”
The closest VRE station to Huntington is in Springfield. The final VRE stop near a Yellow Line station is at L’Enfant Plaza, meaning riders going farther than that would then need to use a Metro train or bus (or walk) to get to their destination.
Other options suggested by Metro include the 11Y bus from the Mount Vernon area. The 11Y runs down the George Washington Parkway and across the 14th Street Bridge. Once in D.C., however, it does not stop close to Yellow Line stations.
Fairfax County’s SafeTrack page lists Metroway, a limited stop bus service that runs between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City Metros, as a possible workaround for Huntingon riders.
The alternatives suggested by Metro and local leaders have left some Huntington riders unhappy. Angelyn Pinter, a regular Yellow Line user who commutes from Huntington into the city, said the high costs and logistical burdens of many SafeTrack options show an insensitivity to the needs of riders who depend on the system for their livelihoods.
“I’m pretty annoyed with the glib responses to choose other options, when there are virtually none,” said Pinter. “The realistic options are spend hundreds of dollars on Uber or parking, if you have a car, [and] triple to quadruple your commute time. Or bike 100 miles a week.”