Metro News Release

For immediate release: February 27, 2014

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Cherry Blossom season is coming, and with it, a four-week break from weekend track work

Cherry BlossomsMetro will take a four-week break from its aggressive rebuilding efforts to accommodate customers traveling during Cherry Blossom season, General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles announced today.

"While the weekend work is necessary to rebuild the system’s infrastructure, we are in a position to take a few weekends off to allow the region’s residents and tourists to enjoy the season," said Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles. "Taking Metrorail is the best way to get to and from the National Mall during this busy time of year.”

This year's break will take place over four consecutive weekends, beginning Saturday, March 22, and continuing through Sunday, April 13. Trains will run at regular weekend intervals on all lines.  During daytime hours, normal weekend intervals are every 6 to 12 minutes.  (The only planned weekend work during this time will take place late Sunday evenings, after 10 p.m., when ridership is light.)

In addition, Metro will run more 8-car trains than normal to provide additional capacity.  Eight-car trains are the longest possible on the Metrorail system.

Sarles encouraged riders to load value onto their SmarTrip card in advance – especially through Auto Reload, the online feature that automatically replenishes a low balance.  In addition, riders traveling to the Tidal Basin are encouraged to use stations other than Smithsonian, which is frequently crowded during the spring season.

On average, Metro ridership increases by more than 15 percent during Cherry Blossom season, and weekend ridership can double to near-weekday levels if the weather is nice.

Metro is at the halfway point of a six-year, $5.5 billion program to improve safety and reliability through the reconstruction of major components of the rail system. It represents the largest capital investment -- and work effort -- since Metrorail’s original construction in the early 1970s. 

Travel Tips

During the busy Cherry Blossom season, riders can enjoy a more pleasant trip by remembering the following travel tips:

  • Trains and stations are always more crowded during Cherry Blossom season. Visitors are encouraged to travel during non-rush hour times, if possible, and try to avoid traveling at the height of the afternoon peak period, from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Smithsonian Station can become extremely busy with visitors at this time of year.  Regular riders who commute to or from Smithsonian may wish to consider L’Enfant Plaza, Archives, or Federal Triangle during Cherry Blossom season.
  • Avoid potentially long lines at vending machines by loading enough value for your entire roundtrip, in advance, on your SmarTrip card. If using a paper farecard, remember to add $1 for each trip ($2 for roundtrip) to the applicable fare. 
  • Visitors can purchase an unlimited One-Day Pass ($14) for maximum convenience. The pass is available on paper farecard or SmarTrip, and can be used for unlimited rail travel on the day it is first used.
  • For your safety, always stand back from the platform edge.
  • When boarding the train, please move as far into the car as possible to allow others to board.  Do not stop in the doors or block the doors at any time.
  • When riding on escalators, please stand on the right.


News release issued at 11:26 am, February 27, 2014.

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