Metro News Release

For immediate release: March 27, 2009

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Metro ready for Cherry Blossom Festival
Metrorail to open at 5 a.m. on Sunday, April 5, for the Cherry Blossom 10-mile race

As the 2009 National Cherry Blossom festival starts this weekend, Metro will operate additional eight-car trains weekdays and weekends, and will open two hours early at 5 a.m., on Sunday, April 5, for the Cherry Blossom 10-mile race.

During the festival from March 28 to April 12, Metro will expand its capacity by converting 15, six-car trains to eight-car trains on the Red, Orange and Green lines during the weekday off-peak hours to accommodate the expected crowds for the Cherry Blossom events. After 8 p.m., all trains will operate with six-cars on all rail lines.

On the weekends, rail customers will see eight-car trains on the Red, Orange and Green lines from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to accommodate crowds for the events throughout the region. Metro will also have additional eight-car trains available to place into service if necessary based on customer demand.

Metrorail will open two hours early, at 5 a.m., on Sunday, April 5, for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-mile race. The race begins at 7:45 a.m., and will start and finish at West Potomac Park. The closest Metrorail stop is the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange Lines.

Customer tips

During the Cherry Blossom season, customers can do their part to help ensure that their trip is pleasant by remembering the following travel tips:

Visitors should avoid traveling during the peak commuter periods from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m., and are strongly encouraged to avoid traveling Metrorail at the height of the afternoon peak period, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Visitors are encouraged to buy the $7.80 one-day Metrorail pass for multiple trips; the one-day pass can only be used after 9:30 a.m. on weekdays, and all day on weekends.

Visitors should buy a SmarTrip card, which is used on Metrorail and Metrobus, and is the only way to pay for parking at most Metro-operated lots. Customers can pay for parking with Discover, Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Japanese Credit Bank credit cards at the Anacostia, Franconia-Springfield, Largo Town Center, Vienna/Fairfax-GMU, Shady Grove and New Carrollton Metrorail stations. Visitors can purchase a SmarTrip card from Metro’s Web site for $25 (with $20 of value on the card) or for $10 at any Metrorail station with a parking facility (with $5 of fare value on the card). SmarTrip cards can hold up to $300 of fare value.

Regular commuters, especially those who work for the federal government and whose offices are in the vicinity of the Smithsonian Metrorail station, which is the most popular station for tourists arriving at the National Mall, are urged to stagger their arrival and departure times for work and use all downtown Metrorail stations.

Regular commuters should allow extra time for travel, and are reminded when traveling on Metrorail to please walk into the center of the rail car and not block the rail car doors.

Customers should stand back from the platform edge as trains approach the station.

The 97th Annual National Cherry Blossom Festival brochures are free and available at Metrorail stations. For more information on traveling by Metrobus and Metrorail, call (202) 637-7000, TDD (202) 638-3780, or visit Metro’s web site at for safety and security tips.


News release issued at 8:51 am, March 27, 2009.

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