News & Politics

Waiting Times for Washington’s Metro Lines, From Best to Worst

Photograph by Sean Pavone/iStock.

If you only need to consider the waiting time, which Metrorail line would be your best choice?

Thanks to the help from Keith Kelly, we were able to rank all six lines by their waiting time, based on real-time data taken from Metro’s API. We randomly chose August 31, 2016–a Wednesday with early morning delays and some afternoon track problems, nothing too out of the ordinary for this system, and SafeTrack affecting travel at the end of the Blue and Yellow Lines, but promising “near-normal” Blue Line service elsewhere–as an example. Here are the most common waiting times for trains we found, ranked from best to worst:

NO. 1 Red Line riders are the luckiest: Many of them can get a train within 5 minutes, most likely around 3 or 4 minutes.


NO. 2 The Yellow Line is fine. Although it is not as convenient as the Red Line, many people can still get a train in around 2 minutes. Others had to wait between 2 and 9 minutes.


NO. 3 The Green Line comes close to the Yellow Line. Most of its riders should expect a train between 2.5 to 9 minutes.



NO. 4 Most Orange and Silver Line riders are in the same boat. They can get a train between 2.5 to 10 minutes. The train will most likely come around 4 or 5 minutes.



NO. 5 At worst, Blue Line riders need to wait between 3 to 11 minutes. Most likely, your train will come in around 6 minutes. Bon voyage!

Web Fellow

Mandy is a web fellow at Washingtonian. She is a senior at Missouri School of Journalism. She focuses on reporting and visualizing news stories, in an effort to tell data-heavy stories in a more interesting and interactive way. Feel free to shoot Mandy an email or @ her at Twitter for ideas and thoughts.