Metro is inviting the public to weigh in on proposed changes to the practice of turning back trains at the Grosvenor-Strathmore station during rush hour rather than having them continue to the end of the Red Line at Shady Grove.
Montgomery County leaders have been lobbying the transit system to end the turnbacks as a way to potentially increase ridership at stations at the northern end of the line including White Flint, Twinbrook, Rockville and Shady Grove. Under the current system, Red Line trains operate every eight minutes between the Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove stations during weekday rush hours.
Metro is evaluating three options:
- Option A: Fully eliminate the turnbacks and operate trains every four minutes between Grosvenor and Shady Grove. This option could lead to more crowded trains along the Red Line as cars fill with passengers at the northern stations;
- Option B: Partially eliminate the turnbacks by having half of the Red Line trains that normally turn around at Grosvenor instead continue to Shady Grove. This would enable trains to run every five minutes between Grosvenor and Shady Grove; and
- Option C: Continue the current policy.
Metro is accepting customer feedback on the options through May 21 via an online survey.
The White Flint business and community advocacy group Friends of White Flint is encouraging its supporters to fill out the survey and vote for ending the turnbacks. County Executive Ike Leggett and other county leaders also asked Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld to end the turnbacks in a February letter. Metro estimated increasing the level of service at the northern stations would cost about $1.25 million to $1.75 million more per year.
Metro’s board could vote on which proposal to implement in July, according to the transit system. The board began the turnbacks in 2015. At the time, Metro said the policy was necessary because the trains were needed elsewhere due to a lack of railcars in the system.