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FAQs about the Silver Line

Thursday - 7/24/2014, 4:55pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- With the Silver Line opening soon in Virginia, WTOP is answering some of the questions riders have ahead of Saturday.

Questions

Answers

Is the Tysons Corner station handicapped friendly for entering and exiting the station?

Yes, all of the Silver Line stations are ADA compliant. There are elevators available to bring you up to and down from the pedestrian bridge.

Also, in a few weeks the direct connection to Tysons Corner Center will be from that pedestrian walkway that is one of the station exits to the new public plaza, so the elevators inside the mall will also be an option when the mall is open.

How long will it take to get to D.C. on the Silver Line?

Remember, the Silver Line shares the Orange Line track at East Falls Church. The first station in the District of Columbia will be Foggy Bottom.

  • McLean to Foggy Bottom: 23 minutes
  • Tysons Corner to Foggy Bottom: 25 minutes
  • Greensboro to Foggy Bottom: 27 minutes
  • Spring Hill to Foggy Bottom: 29 minutes
  • Wiehle-Reston East to Foggy Bottom: 37 minutes

How long will it take to get to other destinations?

Here are the times from Foggy Bottom to other popular stops, which you'll be able to access from the same Silver Line trains:

  • To Farragut West: Add 2 minutes
  • To Metro Center: Add 4 minutes
  • To Smithsonian: Add 7 minutes
  • To Capitol South: Add 13 minutes
  • To Morgan Boulevard (FedEx Field): Add 30 minutes
  • To Largo Town Center: Add 33 minutes.

For any trip, you can get a detailed breakdown at WMATA's Trip Planner.

Is all the work done on the Silver Line?

No, there is still work that will need to be completed after July 26. Most of the issues are minor. Metro says none of them will affect your safety. For example, Metro says that Dulles Transit Partners still needs to install heat tape along the track. Dulles Transit Partners is the contractor on the project, mainly consisting of the Bechtel Corporation. Heat tape is put over the third rail to protect it from cold temperatures during the winter causing any problems. Metro says the remaining work will take place in August during the overnight hours. For more, watch this video:

Will there be track work on the Silver Line on weekends?

Yes. The Silver Line actually runs from Largo Town Center to East Falls Church, before heading off to the 11 miles of new track toward Wiehle-Reston East. Much of the track between Largo and Falls Church is among the oldest in the system. Therefore, Metro will continue with maintenance and repair work that will affect Blue, Orange and Silver line service between Largo and Falls Church. However, there will not be any weekend work on the new stretch of track between McLean and Wiehle-Reston East for a few years.

When will the 2,300-space parking garage be ready?
"There is so much construction going on with cranes and scaffolding I can't imagine it will be ready this weekend. " - Submitted by Debbie.

The garage is ready now and has been for a couple of months. The construction you are seeing is actually above the garage.

The developer, Comstock, is building several buildings on top of the Metro garage but was required by the county to complete the garage first so that it would open with the train service.

Remember too that the garage is two parts: the 2,300-space public section that includes the kiss and ride lot and bus depot plus 1,000 additional spaces that are operated by the developer will have slightly different rates. Upon entering the garage, the signs will point drivers to the public spaces. However riders may want to look into which rates would work best for them.

How do I get to Wolf Trap from the nearest Metro stop -- and why isn't there a stop at Wolf Trap? - Submitted by Caroline.

For now, the easiest way to get to Wolf Trap for an event is to Metro to West Falls Church and take the bus (they may switch that next year).

I believe They looked at having the Silver Line trains stop at Wolf Trap and decided that it wasn't worth the cost of building the station.

Can Metro run eight-car trains on the Blue Line during the morning and evening rush to mitigate the extra crowds between Rosslyn and Pentagon?

Metro is planning to provide more eight-car trains along the Blue Line for just the reason that you suggest.

However, it will take a while before all trains can be eight cars because Metro needs to improve the power systems to support it and because the new 7000 series cars are not in service yet.

The new cars will allow Metro to phase out the oldest 1000 series cars and add to the fleet.

How much will it cost to ride the Silver Line?

The maximum fare will be $5.90 during the rush hour. The fare you pay depends on where you start and end your trip and the time of day. From Wiehle-Reston East to Foggy Bottom, it'll be $5.90 during the rush and $3.60 off-peak. From McLean to Foggy Bottom, it'll be $4.25 during rush hour and $3.15 off-peak. Remember, paper farecards cost an extra dollar surcharge. If you are unsure, you can put your trip into the Metro Trip Planner.

Why does it cost so much to ride the Silver Line? From Wiehle to Rosslyn it will be $5.90 one way. Right now I pay $3.35 from West Falls Church to Rosslyn.

Metrorail fares are calculated based on time of day and distance. From Falls Church to the Rosslyn Metro is about 7 miles. From Wiehle-Reston East to the Rosslyn Station is 21 miles.

"The distance between West Falls Church and Rosslyn is less than half that of Reston to Rosslyn. The trip duration is also less than half. If your ride in a taxi twice the distance, you'd expect to pay more," says Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

Will the new Silver Line have the new 7000-series Metrorail cars?

No, it will not. First, the rail cars won't be ready for passenger service until the end of 2014. Second, Metro cannot discriminate where it places the new railcars. It will evenly space them across the system, benefiting those on the Red, Blue, Orange, Green, Yellow and Silver Lines. For more, check out this video:

Wait - if the newer cars won't be ready until the end of the year, will Metro have enough cars to run Silver Line service until then?

Yes, although it will require some juggling. Metro's Dan Stessel says the agency puts about 904 cars into service during a weekday rush hour, but will need 952 cars once the Silver Line is up and running. So where will they get them? Stessel says the agency has reduced the number of cars "in the shop" for maintenance or cosmetic upgrades, such as ripping out carpet, new lighting or adding new security cameras. Once the first set of 7000-series rail cars go into service, Metro will resume these upgrades on a more regular basis.

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