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Morning Metro commuters at the Stadium-Armory station watched Silver and Orange line trains move through the station without stopping this morning, all part of a skip-stop strategy by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to alleviate the effects of a transformer fire near the station last week.
What that means is that during peak times — from 5 a.m to 10 a.m. during the morning rush and from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. during the evening rush — only Blue line trains will service the station. Metro is providing free shuttle bus service from the station to Orange line commuters to Minnesota Avenue.
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen was on hand to note the passing trains and frustrated commuters.
And here it is… not a Blue line train on the board. And that Orange line that says “boarding”, just went on thru. pic.twitter.com/m3PLdWtJkE
— Charles Allen (@CharlesAllenW6) September 29, 2015
The reduced service raised the question of whether WMATA will reduce peak service fares for riders at the station, which serves the Hill East, Barney Circle, and Kingman Park neighborhoods as well as employees at the Armory, D.C. General campus, and attendees of RFK events, like D.C. United’s Friday night game at 7 p.m. against NYC F.C.
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel says that fares can only be changed by WMATA board action. “When ‘peak’ fares are charged is not necessarily linked to frequency of service. For example, peak fares are charged midnight to 3 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night when trains run every 30 minutes,” Stessel says.
So for the time being, riders with reduced service during rush hours will still be charged peak fares. Stessel also says that trains “are servicing Stadium-Armory every 12 minutes.” Riders who waited at least 20 minutes this morning, however, might dispute that. Reducing peak fares during reduced service is one of the demands of the recently launched WMATA Riders Union. And the idea appears to have struck a nerve with frustrated commuters:
At least one commuter had a sense of humor about the process. While WMATA scrambled to get signs and handbills to commuters during the evening rush yesterday, Hill East resident Tim Krepp and his daughter put up signs at the entrance to the Stadium-Armory Metro last night with the relevant changes to service and some well wishes: “Good Luck!” it read.
This morning, the sign had been removed.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery