Metro will boost weekend train service for Cherry Blossom season
Cherry Blossom season is back, and Metro will be doing its part to take visitors to see the famous blooms. Beginning Saturday, March 19, Metrorail will run more trains to increase weekend service with no daytime track work scheduled for four consecutive weeks.
Traditionally one of the busiest ridership periods, the Cherry Blossom season and other spring activities bring large crowds of visitors to the National Capital Region. To accommodate additional riders, every weekend between Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, April 17, Metrorail will operate as many trains as possible matching weekday service levels – every 10 minutes on the Red Line and 20 minutes on all other lines. In Downtown DC where most stations are served by multiple lines, trains will arrive every 6-10 minutes.
“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 is one of the best ways to get around, and with a $2 flat fare for any one-way trip on weekends it’s even more affordable.”
In celebration of the 2022 National Cherry Blossom Festival, Metro will release a limited-edition SmarTrip card designed by Lea Craigie-Marshall, the official artist of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The card features a burst of vibrant pink blossoms with a monarch butterfly. The design was inspired by a love of the environment and the need to protect both for future generations.
The commemorative cards will be available in specially marked fare vending machines at Navy Yard and L’Enfant Plaza stations beginning Friday, March 18.
In addition, Metro will be participating in this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and Petalpalooza. Look for Metro featured on one of the floats, then stop by the Metro booth at Petalpalooza for photos and special cherry blossom themed giveaways.
On weekends, visitors going to see the blossoms can take advantage of free parking at all Metro parking garages and lots, and travel on Metrorail for just $2 one-way no matter how far the trip.
Trains and stations are more crowded during Cherry Blossom season, particularly during peak bloom. To avoid crowds and to make your trip smoother, consider the following:
- On weekdays, consider traveling during non-rush hour times when trains and stations are less crowded. Avoid traveling during the height of the afternoon peak period, from 4 to 6 p.m.
- On weekends, consider traveling on Sunday when trains are less crowded. On Saturday, if possible, travel before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. to avoid the busiest ridership periods between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 4 and 6 p.m.
- Smithsonian Station is the closest station to the Tidal Basin and can become extremely busy. To avoid crowding, consider using L'Enfant Plaza or Federal Triangle instead.
- Avoid transfers. Except for the Red Line, the Tidal Basin is accessible on all lines without transfers.
- Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, L’Enfant Plaza
- L’Enfant Plaza
- Due to the 7000-series railcar investigation, all trains are operating as 6-car trains. Make sure to move down the platform to board the train and don’t forget to use the first and last train cars, which tend to be less crowded.
- Avoid the wait at fare vending machines. Use Metro’s mobile pay options for Apple iOS or Android to purchase a SmarTrip card or transfer an existing card to a phone or mobile device and instantly add funds.
- Each passenger 5 years of age or older needs his or her own SmarTrip card. Be sure to load enough value on the card to pay for all trips you plan to take.
- As a reminder, under federal law masks are required when riding in trains, buses, MetroAccess vehicles and at indoor stations.