Starting Monday, Metrorail will double rush-hour service at four Montgomery County stations – White Flint, Twinbrook, Rockville and Shady Grove – with trains arriving every four minutes.
The change, announced in October, eliminates what Metro dubs the “Grosvenor turnback,” where half of the Shady Grove-bound trains ended, discharging passengers onto the outdoor platform at Grosvenor-Strathmore station in North Bethesda to wait for the following train that continues to Shady Grove.
Eight-car trains have been arriving every eight minutes during rush hours at the four stations, which are frequently used by workers at several federal office buildings in Rockville and North Bethesda, as well as the county’s conference center and other businesses.
The new service also is expected to ease a scramble and occasional crowding at the Rockville station, where commuters transfer from MARC commuter trains to the 27-station Red Line, Metro’s oldest.
Metro also will begin work on a new stairway at the Shady Grove station, the second busiest among the dozen county Red Line stops, where long lines often form as passengers use one escalator, stairs or elevator to leave the station, according to the transit agency.
With 11,517 passengers boarding each weekday, on average, at Shady Grove, the station in North Rockville ranks behind Silver Spring as the second busiest station in Montgomery County, according to Metro data.
Last summer, Metro’s board considered two scenarios to end the “Grosvenor turnback,” which has been criticized by political leaders and transit advocates for years. The adopted schedule has rush-hour trains arriving at the four stations every four minutes. Another option called for trains on a five-minute timetable.
The new service and stairway construction come as Metro grapples with customer complaints about inconsistent service, breakdowns and a proposal for fare increases or greater subsidies from suburban counties in Maryland and Virginia.