The four car trains, which are normally filled well beyond capacity leaving passengers on the platform unable to board, were officially scheduled to be upgraded to six cars by December 2006.
Metro plans to run longer trains on the Blue Line by the end of the month to ease crowding on platforms and in cars on one of the least reliable routes in the system, officials said yesterday.
Because Metro deploys its trains based on ridership, the Blue Line... has been operating with some four-car trains during rush hour while higher-ridership lines run six- and eight-car trains. The Yellow Line has one four-car train during rush hour.
By the end of the month, all four-car trains will have six cars during peak periods as the transit agency adds 18 rail cars to its rush-hour service, bringing its total to 800 cars during the peak period. Metro is able to add cars because 106 of its new rail cars are now in service.
Perhaps Blue Line riders will soon have a bit more space around them when their trains are stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Last fiscal year, Blue Line riders experienced a 37 percent increase in delays from the previous year, the second-biggest jump of any of the five lines, according to Metro statistics.
The 225 delays on the Blue Line were caused by a host of problems, including malfunctioning train doors and track and mechanical problems. There were 164 such delays the previous year, according to Metro figures. Not included in those numbers were recent fire and smoke incidents, caused in part by a power outage near the station for Reagan National Airport on the Blue Line, that hobbled most of the system for two days late last month.