“Virtual” Tunnel Yields Real Benefits

November 4th, 2014

Use of the “Farragut Crossing” virtual tunnel is strong, averaging around 18,000 trips per month during the more temperate months, dropping to 15,000 during the winter.

Users of the Metrorail system come up with a lot of different ideas for how Metro can better serve their needs.  Ideas often come from the blogging community and are sometimes considered by Metro planners, researchers and leadership.  One such idea was the virtual tunnel between Farragut North and Farragut WestNow dubbed “Farragut Crossing” via a Facebook naming contest, this fare policy update allows transfers between the two Farragut stations without being charged two separate fares.

Farragut Crossing was first opened in October of 2011 and monthly usage increased from just a few thousand trips in its first few months to a max of over 21,000 in May of 2014.  Since then, it’s settled to around 18,000 during the fair-weather months.

This virtual tunnel can be a real time-saver for our customers, and helps reduce crowding at Metro Center, where these transfers would otherwise take place.

As you may know, on weekends Farragut Crossing is a block longer, due to the closure of the eastern entrance of Farragut West.  This is because the station’s weekend usage doesn’t warrant two staffed entrances and the western entrance is that with elevators providing ADA access.

Metro has made efforts to spread the word about Farragut Crossing, including in-station signs, press releases and the aforementioned Facebook contest.  What else do you think Metro could do to increase awareness of this time-saving out-of-system transfer?


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  1. November 4th, 2014 at 11:31 | #1

    Much of the time, I can’t even remember which downtown square is which — is Farragut the one that was Occupied? Or is it the shady one with the food trucks?

    So it’s difficult to remember where the Farragut West entrance is located, especially since the west entrance isn’t on the square (18th and I?).

    How good is the on-street wayfinding signage for the Farragut Crossing? That would seem to be the simplest solution.

  2. David
    November 4th, 2014 at 13:39 | #2

    Has anyone looked at creating a “G Street Crossing” between Metro Center and Gallery Place? It’s only a three-block walk and would be great for those of us transferring between the Green/Yellow and Blue/Orange/Silver.

  3. TimK
    November 4th, 2014 at 14:47 | #3


    Two blocks. Metro Center has an entrance/exit at 11th and G, and Gallery Place has one at 9th and G. :-)

  4. Mike A
    November 4th, 2014 at 14:55 | #4

    On street signage is crucial. Especially for first-timers. If it’s not easy the first time they won’t try again.

    You need Metro branded signage coming out of the escalators, crossing the street, down the square, crossing the street again and down the escalators again.

    And absolutely put one at Metro Center/Chinatown. This tech fix is much cheaper then infrastructure. If I was a representative on the board or a paying jurisdiction, I would demand it before agreeing to subsidize more money next year.

  5. nattyboh
    November 5th, 2014 at 08:40 | #5

    Farragut has food trucks. McPherson was occupied.

  6. sproc
    November 5th, 2014 at 09:39 | #6

    +1000 on the “G St Crossing” idea. As someone who passes through these stations at 10+ times a week, it would be great to have more options when one or more lines are having problems. In that vein, I really wish that you could exit a station you already entered within a certain period without paying a fee (maybe 10-15 min?). It would have to be short enough to not enable loitering, etc., but allow riders who are not willing to endure a rail delay exit the station and chose another form of transportation without a penalty.

  7. xmal
    November 5th, 2014 at 10:10 | #7

    How about painting a line on the sidewalk between the two station entrances, like the Freedom Trail in Boston?

  8. JR
    November 5th, 2014 at 10:21 | #8

    Monthly transfers of 17,000 means an average of about 566 per day, probably a bit more on the weekdays and less on the weekends (especially since metro is unusable on the weekends). 566 per day is pretty pathetic, and I wish Metro would acknowledge that rather than falsely trumpet the supposed success of this. Build a real tunnel connecting the two stations under ground. It’s what any real transit system would do.

  9. Will
    November 5th, 2014 at 10:26 | #9

    The Farragut crossing is the only way to run a quick errand out of system and not have to pay a second fare. Since you are looking for ways to increase usage, communicating about this unintended, but significant and valuable attribute would likely attract new users. The print/copy/coffee shops nearby could also promote it. Really, it’s appealing for anyone traveling through the area where there final destination does not have some of the quick 5-10 min errand amenities available in the Farragut area.

  10. Phil Desaulniers
    November 5th, 2014 at 11:43 | #10

    Metro should open a similar service between Metro Center and Gallery Place. It’s such a pain transferring from the silver/orange line to the green line because you have to take an unnecessary loop south to L’Enfant Plaza. Hopefully the success of Farragut will justify something similar here.

  11. Vinnie
    November 5th, 2014 at 12:09 | #11

    Agree with the necessity for signage (or “trail markings”) on the street.

    More useful signage in stations would help too — don’t sign it “Farragut Crossing”, but “To Farragut North” (or “…West” obvi). And that shouldn’t be on a single station sign, but on every sign noting where the exit goes.

    A HUGE help would be to put it on the map as well.

    Remember, the folks you’re trying to get to use this are the ones who aren’t familiar with the immediate area (they are starting and finishing their trip elsewhere in the system, probably both outside of downtown DC). They’re going to need more hand-holding than the people who are actually entering or exiting the system at the station.

  12. Vinnie
    November 5th, 2014 at 12:09 | #12

    And PLEASE repeat this for the “G Street Crossing”! Especially on weekends, this can save people 10+ minutes on their trip.

  13. Fred
    November 5th, 2014 at 17:45 | #13

    I think placing the crossing on the system map would significantly help. NYC marks “free out of system transfers with metrocard” on their subway maps where there are out of system transfers.

  14. Mike
    November 12th, 2014 at 23:34 | #14

    When it comes to these virtual tunnels how about better labeling exits that are closed on weekends and what entrances have elevators and the distances so someone that is disabled such as in a wheelchair or someone that is a senior citizen or with children can determine whether or not it is worth it to walk.

    Or in the case of transfer stations it may be quicker to get out of a station and walk to the station if you need to transfer vs waiting anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes such as on a weekend.

    Archives & Federal Triangle, Archives & Judiciary Square, Mt Vernon Square & McPherson Sq, Federal Center SW & Waterfront, Minnesota Ave & Benning Road are all close enough to walk between if there is a need to transfer between lines especially when considering the possibility of waiting up to 30 minutes on a weekend or late night weekday

    This distance is even closer when you add in the distance between the elevators at Farragut North & Farragut West and the placement of crosswalks at the streets you have to navigate such as the service lanes on K Street NW

  15. xmal
    December 18th, 2014 at 09:56 | #15

    Any thoughts to putting shops in the tunnel and using the rent to fund the construction? May be one way to bring construction of this key piece of infrastructure closer to the present.

    December 26th, 2014 at 22:59 | #16

    @Will Please remember There is no drinking or eating within the Metrorail system, including escalators & elevators. & please convince me that the fresh hot coffee you just bought will sit idly by until you arrive @your destination..Next time you are on a train-car look under your seat also take a gander behind the parapet wall. (The one we lean against while waiting for train arrivals.) IJS

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