If you regularly rode Metro to work before the pandemic, you remember the days when rush-hour trains would pull into the station every few minutes. Rather than sprinting to slip between the closing doors of a departing train, you could just wait for the next one, which would generally be along shortly. These days, Metro is a more annoying experience, with train intervals being significant enough that missing one often means a frustratingly extended wait on the platform.
Well, (some) relief is coming. Starting on February 7, trains on the Orange, Blue, and Blue + (Yellow replacement) Lines will arrive every 12 minutes during the hours of 6 to 9 AM and 3 to 6 PM from Tuesday to Thursday, shaving off three minutes from the current wait times. And on February 21, the Red Line will begin running every eight minutes from 6 AM to 9 PM from Tuesday to Thursday, down from its current 10 minutes.
The shorter wait times are in part due to the return of 7000 series trains, which were mostly pulled from service after a Blue Line derailment in October 2021 prompted an investigation. The new frequency can also be attributed to the increased capacity of Orange Line trains, which will soon all consist of eight cars.
No changes were announced regarding the Green and Silver Lines, which currently arrive every eight and 15 minutes, respectively.
WMATA says that the availability of trains is only “half of the equation” to better service and that they are making progress in hiring new employees. Metro’s workforce vacancies of largely frontline employees is down to 1,400 vacancies from 1,900 last summer, which it attributes to active recruiting efforts.