Guest Author - Donna Ledbetter
When waiting for the metro in Washington, DC, you will find that metro station officials have done their best keep you both safe and informed during your trip. You will find that brown tile flooring of the metro platform, also includes a safety strip along the edge. This strip marks the safest distance away from the train that travelers should stand while waiting. As the train approaches, you will want to make sure you are behind this strip.
You will also notice that during the last minute before the train’s approach, the lights in the floor’s platform begin to flash. This is an indication that either the train will be coming soon or that it has just passed. When these lights flash, you often find locals running for the train. Be safe and stay out of their path. If you happen to miss a train, remember that another will soon follow.
Above the platform, you will find electronic message boards. These boards feature information about the next oncoming train, how many cars it carries, and its expected time of arrival. Because many trains run parallel, look first for the color of the line you want to travel. Then determine the direction. During rush hour, you will want to take notice of the number of cars available. Most people like to bunch up in the center car. However, this is often unnecessary. To find a less crowded car, simply walk to one of the far ends of the platform. In these cars, you will be more likely to grab a seat, especially on Nationals, Wizards, and Redskins game days.
The final piece of information you need is the time until the next train. During rush hour, metro trains usually run about every 5 minutes to keep up with the increased volume of commuting workers. The later it gets in the evening, the longer it takes for the next train to come. This can be a problem when you are waiting at for an above-ground train because you are unprotected from the cold and the elements. The longest wait can be about 18 minutes. This is why you will often see people running for the train. But you really don’t have to run for a train if you’re traveling during normal business hours.
The trains also run less frequently on the weekends. Sunday is the least frequent day. However, metro officials tend to a great job at keeping up with conventions, game days, and festivals going on in the area. On these days, no matter what the occasion, the metro usually runs extra trains to accommodate the heavier volume.
For related articles, check out the Washington, DC destinations page at the start of the MidAtlantic USA site.