Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

WMATA's Rush+ service changes will begin in under two weeks

June 8, 2012 - 02:00 PM
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(Photo: John Hendel)

Rush+ starts in 10 days, Metro riders, and promises a significant change in the frequency of WMATA trains throughout the lines. The transit agency spent all of last month trying to raise awareness for the service changes and deployed stunts like railcars decked out with Rush+ ads and decoration in popular Metro stations like Gallery Place-Chinatown. Now in June, WMATA hopes you pay closer attention and understand what the hell Rush+ really is. Rush+ promises faster service on the Yellow, Orange, Green, and parts of the Blue line to accommodate the busy system and prepare for the advent of the Silver Line next year. WMATA has handed out glossy booklets, the exterior shown above and the interior below, and launched another survey to assess what Metro riders are hearing about the new service. WMATA produced video explainers and announced that more than 100,000 riders would experience faster service, all the while brushing over the downside that 16,000 Blue Line riders will have to wait as many as six minutes longer for their rush-hour trains.

Here's some Rush+ updates worth noting:

• To help raise awareness and get a head start on the work, WMATA has begun installing new Metro maps in the stations and on the railcars (with special markers signifying that Rush+ won't begin until June 18) and installing the Rush+ signage at the stations (Gallery Place has received new station signs, for instance) in recent weeks.

• The Metro Trip Planner on the WMATA website is purportedly outfitted with the new Rush+ schedules if you attempt to plan a trip on June 18 or later, according to WMATA. And sure enough, I tested out a commute slated for tomorrow and one for June 18, and the second one shaved three minutes off the commute. Let's hope reality follows suit.

• The Metro Store embraces both the new and the old maps and now offers you T-shirts featuring either, if you're passionate enough to want your apparel shouting transit. You can also buy copies of the new Metro map.

• Metro workers and staff seem to be making special visits to stations to help alert riders to the changes. Metro General Manager Richard Sarles visited Franconia-Springfield this week, according to WAMU, and he spoke of street teams and stickers and the ways WMATA is trying to let people know of the changes. Metro staffers have special yellow shirts adorned with the Rush+ logo as they pass out the information.

• The Metro Forward team has attempted to engage riders by supplying photos of these changes as they've happened. On May 31, a WMATA Facebook album showed workers installing the new Rush+ signs at Metro Center. A May 16 flickr album detailed the production of the new maps.

See WMATA's details about Rush+ and how your commute may change here. Get ready, rides. June 18 will be here before we know it.

Chocolate strawberries
(Photo: John Hendel)
Chocolate strawberries
(Photo: John Hendel)
Chocolate strawberries
(Photo: John Hendel)
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