Jamal Cooper had a seat on the train on his way home from work Tuesday evening for the first time in a while.
Cooper, 28, of Arlington, believes the seat he sat in from Farragut West to Ballston along the Orange Line, was made available by Metro’s new RUSH+ program. The program, which started Monday, is expected to reduce crowding along the Green, Yellow, Blue and Orange lines.
“I appreciate Metro adding more service along the line,” Cooper said. “This is something they should have done a while ago. This is going to make a lot of people happy."
The program is expected to improve service for about 110,000 riders, with more than 46,000 of those customers along the Orange Line. According to Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority, during peak hours between Vienna and Largo Town Center stations, three trains in each direction will be added per hour. The increase in train service will be between 6:30 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. during weekdays.
As a moshpit of commuters stormed from the exit of the West Falls Church Metro station just before 6 p.m., Crystal Fuller emerged with her satchel securely draped across her body. Fuller, 46, of Falls Church, said the added service during peak hours has made it faster to get home the last two days. She said the additional service should cut down on people rushing to board trains while the doors are closing.
“It’s been nice not having to deal with sitting at a station longer than needed because someone wanted to squeeze onto the train,” Fuller said. “I can get used to this.”
Commuters along the Orange Line have been overwhelmingly supportive of the RUSH+ program, said Dan Stessel, spokesman for WMATA. He said by changing three Blue Line trains to Yellow Line trains, it created space in the Rosslyn Tunnel, which is at capacity. Stessel said Blue Line passengers may have to wait a few minutes more, but overall the system is more efficient with the program in place.
“This has been in the works for the last two years,” Stessel said. “This is actually a requirement for the arrival of the Silver Line service.”
Teresa Zordich, of Rosslyn, has enjoyed not being sardined inside one of the trains along the Orange Line on her way home from work in Washington, D.C. She said she usually leaves work later in the day to avoid the massive rush. She said she tried the trains around 5:20 p.m. Monday and noticed a slight change with Tuesday’s commute home just a little better than a day earlier.
“It’s not quite perfect and I know it will take some time but things are already looking a bit better,” Zordich said. “I can deal with this better than I could before.”