WASHINGTON — Metro plans to increase its weekend train service for nearly a month in order to accommodate increased visitors to the National Mall during cherry blossom season.
Every weekend from Saturday, March 19 until Sunday, April 17 WMATA says they “will operate as many trains as possible matching weekday service levels" to help the flow of traffic in the city during peak cherry blossom season. That means trains should run every 10 minutes on the Red Line and 20 minutes on all other lines, according to a Metro press release.
WMATA also says that trains will arrive every six to 10 minutes in downtown D.C. where stations house multiple lines.
Parking will also be free at all Metro parking garages and lots on weekends. One-way travel on Metrorail will be $2 regardless of how far a person decides to travel.
“Cherry blossom season is one of the biggest attractions of the year and Metrorail is stepping up service to better serve customers,” said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld.
Metro travel tips for Cherry Blossom Season
- WMATA advises people to travel during non-rush hour times during the week and to avoid traveling during the afternoon peak times between 4 to 6 p.m.
- Sundays are typically less crowded, Metro says, but on Saturday consider traveling before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. to avoid the busy ridership times which are typically from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- If possible, avoid transferring train lines. The Tidal Basin is accessible by every line without transfers except for the Red Line.
- Avoid crowded trains by using the first or last train car of the metro.
- Make sure you have a mask because they are still required on trains, buses, MetroAccess vehicles and within indoor stations.
- Use a SmarTrip card from your phone to avoid waiting in long lines to purchase one at the station. Cards are available for purchase from the SmarTrip app on Apple and Android devices. Users can also upload an existing SmarTrip card to the app as well.
- Make sure each person you are with has enough money on their SmarTrip card. Passengers that are 5-years of age and older must have their own SmarTrip card.
Starting March 18, cherry blossom enthusiasts can add a SmarTrip card designed by Lea Craigie-Marshall, the official artist of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The design was “inspired by a love of the environment and the need to protect both or future generations," WMATA said. The card is only available at Navy Yard and L’Enfant Plaza stations.