After years of anticipation, months of delays and a weekend full of grand opening festivities, commuters boarded Metro Silver Line trains in Reston Monday headed to the same jobs in a new way.
Gone were the excited children and curious transportation nerds of Saturday and Sunday. In their place were Ashburn, Reston and Herndon residents, among others, hurrying to where they needed to be on a Monday morning.
The first commuting day seemed to go without incident. The intersection at Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road was not clogged with cars. Trains ran mostly on schedule. Buses, by commuter reports, were a bit inconsistent — some of the new routes were early and some were late. The parking garage at Wiehle Avenue was nearly full by 9 a.m.
There were some backups, but that was mostly commuters trying to get the lay of the land. Where is the elevator in the parking garage? Which way to the 505 bus? Is this the private parking or the county parking? There were lots of Metro and Reston Station personnel to answer questions.
James Mosley of Herndon has tried a variety of ways to get to his IT job near Metro Center in D.C. — driving, getting a ride through the slug line, buses from Herndon-Monroe to the East Falls Church Metro Station and an Orange Line train.
Monday morning, he was dropped off at Wiehle-Reston East’s Kiss and Ride.
“It’s not so convenient for the driver,” he said of the Kiss-and-Ride lanes. “When you are in the garage, you have to make a three-point turn to come out.”
Mosley said the Silver Line will be a good test. He had his stopwatch set to see whether the new method would save any time.
“I started out at 7:44 a.m.,” he said. “My goal is to make it to my office by 8:20.”
Mosely later emailed he got to work at 8:38 a.m.
“In general, the commute time was definitely longer than if I had commuted via other methods from Herndon Monroe. “The commute to wait on the train was definitely longer than if I had traveled to the Herndon-Monroe. Access to that garage is a lot simpler.”
Mosley’s Eastbound train was packed — as were most others during morning rush hour — as it traveled towards Tysons Corner before 8 a.m. Coming West from Tysons shortly after, there were only a handful of passengers.
Diego Aguilar formerly traveled from his home near West Falls Church to Reston Town Center on the Fairfax Connector 505 Bus. Now he will pick up the Silver Line at East Falls Church and take Metro to his job at Davelle Clothiers.
“This is really nice,” he said of his first day on the new route. “We have been waiting for this to happen and the time has come.”
Sashi Goli of Ashburn stopped and took a selfie in front of the Silver Line sign. He has been making the commute to his office near Chinatown for nearly five years. The travel time via Silver Line will be about the same as when he parked at Herndon Monroe and took a bus to West Falls Church. That route has been eliminated, so Goli says he has no choice but to take the Silver Line now.
“Fifty minutes is still a long time [to get downtown],” he said. “When Phase II opens, that will be really awesome.”
Metro said that 5,089 people boarded trains at the five Silver Line stations between 5 and 9 a.m. Monday. Wiehle-Reston East was by far the busiest with 3,496. Other Silver Line station numbers: Tysons, 455; McLean, 508; Spring Hill, 481; Greensboro, 149.