Aug 29, 2022 - News

How to navigate Metro's upcoming service disruptions

A Yellow Line train crosses a bridge over the Potomac River with the National Monument in the background.
A Yellow Line train from Virginia to D.C. Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Riding Metro is going to be a lot more complicated for users of the Yellow and Blue lines starting next week.

What’s happening: Major construction involving the new Potomac Yard station and the aging Yellow Line infrastructure will cause significant service disruptions over the next eight months.

  • From Sept. 10 to Oct. 22, Metro will connect the new Potomac Yard station to the existing tracks. The six Blue and Yellow Line stations south of Reagan National will be closed during that time.  
  • From Sept. 10 through May 2023, all Yellow Line service will stop for extensive work on the line’s more than 40-year-old tunnel and bridge.

Why it matters: Depends on where you live. Riders reliant on Blue or Yellow Line service to get to and from Northern Virginia will be most affected, but anyone who uses Metrorail to get to DCA or who frequents the Yellow Line will likely experience longer wait times and crowded commutes. 

Between the lines: Metro says it will increase Blue and Green Line frequencies while the Yellow Line is down – but that depends on the return of some additional 7000-series trains.

Zoom in: The Yellow Line bridge crosses the Potomac and is between the Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza.

  • Needed repairs include waterproofing the tunnel, strengthening its lining, and replacing communication cables used by multiple jurisdictions. 

The new Potomac Yard station, which will go between the DCA and Braddock Road stations, is expected to open this fall, according to Metro.

Paige’s thought bubble: Plenty of folks, myself included, chose where to live based on proximity to one of these lines, and so the upcoming changes are incredibly inconvenient. But, to Metro’s credit, they’ve been warning us about the disruptions for months and there are a few viable alternate travel options (see below).

Detour: Here are some other ways to get around during the upcoming construction projects.

Metro riders will hopefully avoid shelling out buckets of extra money for rideshares during the upcoming Metro projects thanks to these alternate options:

The Virginia Railway Express is free for the month of September and between certain stations in October. The commuter rail service goes from the Northern Virginia suburbs to Union Station and it has two lines, Fredericksburg and Manassas.

  • Details: VRE has ample capacity on both its trains and parking lots (most of which are free and largely empty). But, trains don’t run on weekends and generally only run northbound in the morning and southbound in the evening.
  • Pricing once the free promotion ends varies based on trip length. According to the VRE app, a single ride on the Fredericksburg Line from Franconia/Springfield to Union Station is $7.80. A seven-day pass for the same trip is $62.40.

Seven free Metro shuttles will be available during the six-week project impacting the six stations south of DCA. 

  • Details: Two local shuttles will run during all Metrorail hours; two express shuttles will be available from 4:30am to 9pm and from 6:30am to 9pm on weekends; three limited shuttles will be available during rush hour. 

The three limited-stop shuttles that run during weekday rush hour will continue running from late October to May during the Yellow Line construction.

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