WASHINGTON -- It's been a few weeks since Metro inaugurated its free out-of-system transfer between the Farragut North station on the Red Line and the Farragut West station on the Blue and Orange lines. For SmarTrip users, the electronic transfer provides a way to avoid transferring at Metro Center, which, depending on your destination, is longer trek.
But is the Farragut Crossing transfer worth surfacing for?
As Greater Greater Washington pointed out on Wednesday, the Farragut West entrance at 17th and I streets NW is the closest to Farragut North. But that entrance is closed on weekends. The transit and planning blog noted that Farragut West's entrance at 18th and I street NW has an elevator, so for ADA-compliance, that station entrance is the one that stays open on weekends. Metro does not have enough funding to keep both entrances open.
The Huffington Post has been testing the various ways to utilize the Farragut Crossing transfer since it opened and has found that on weekends, it is sometimes better to transfer at Metro Center. But it all depends on timing. If you have a mobile app for transit arrival predictions, you can estimate the time needed for Farragut Crossing versus Metro Center.
Farragut West to Farragut North via Metro Center: With no delays, it takes an Orange or Blue line train approximately two minutes to go from Farragut West to Metro Center, including the time train doors are open at the McPherson Square station. It takes Red Line trains approximately 90 seconds to go from Metro Center to Farragut North. The wild card, of course, is the time to transfer to the Red Line. If you get the timing just right and have some luck, you can make the trip from Farragut West to Farragut North via Metro Center in about four to five minutes. But if your wait time at Metro Center is longer, the trip could take significantly longer, especially when when trackwork might mean less-frequent train service.
Farragut West to Farragut North via Farragut Crossing: During weekdays, using Farragut Crossing can cut the transfer time between Farragut West and Farragut North to approximately 175 seconds, including the time it takes to travel from platform to street and wait at crosswalks. But that's if the entrance at Farragut West is open, which it isn't on weekends. There are of course variables to consider, like where you are on the platform and waits at crosswalks. And this assumes you have a brisk pace.
It can take approximately 60 seconds to travel from the eastern end of Farragut West's platform to the faregates at the western entrance at 18th and I streets. It then takes approximately 40 seconds to surface, 90 seconds to walk north to K Street NW, and 200 seconds to walk east from 18th Street to the Farragut North faregates at the K Street entrance.
On Sunday, traveling on a Blue Line train from Virginia, The Huffington Post used a transit app to consider transfer options while approaching Farragut North. It was was unlikely that the train would reach Metro Center in time to get the next available Shady Grove-bound Red Line train. Positioned exactly at the platform-to-mezzanine escalator at the western end of the Farragut West station, HuffPost walked at a brisk pace to the Farragut North's station entrance at K Street. The transfer took approximately five minutes, because of crosswalk waits at K Street and Connecticut Avenue.But the Red Line was delayed. The train arrived three minutes later, so it was likely that HuffPost could have simply gone to Metro Center and caught the Red Line train without much sweat or toil. So Farragut Crossing is certainly subject to App-Traps.RELATED VIDEO: Mascots Celebrate Farragut Crossing