Hundreds using free 'Farragut Crossing' Metro transfer

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Local,DC,Maryland,Virginia,Transportation,Kytja Weir
Hundreds of Metro riders are using the new Farragut Crossing transfer each weekday, getting a free re-entry into the rail system when they walk between the stations.

In the first week of December, an average of 454 riders each weekday used the free transfer between Farragut North and Farragut West rail stations, just over a month after the "virtual tunnel" officially opened, according to Metro's latest figures.

The numbers have been steadily increasing since the first full week after the Oct. 28 opening, when the average usage was 325 trips, except for some blips around Thanksgiving and Veterans Day.

Sneak peak before Farragut Crossing began?
Farragut Crossing officially "opened" Oct. 28. But Metro data show that hundreds of trips were logged as early as Oct. 15, with as many as 187 transfers counted two days before the kickoff. Only a few dozen more, 243 in total, were logged on opening day when officials made a show of using it.
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said most of the pre-opening use came from Metro workers who were testing each faregate to make sure that the free transfer worked with SmarTrip cards. But an untold number of riders may also have enjoyed the free transfer, by surprise, as the crossing had to be activated to be tested, he said.

"It seems we're off to a good start," Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said.

Usage is still a small fraction of the overall 744,000 trips logged on the system each weekday, though, and small even among those who use those two stations. The average weekday boardings are 23,796 at Farragut North and 22,575 at Farragut West this year, according to Metro data.

Stessel said the agency has not advertised the crossing much beyond a colorful groundbreaking (think conga line involving Washington Nationals mascots), some signs and a pamphlet.

The free transfer is geared for regular riders in the know. It works only for SmarTrip card holders, not those using paper farecards. The some of the signs inside the stations are a bit hard to find -- one in Farragut North is above an elevator door at a little-used end of the platform. And it doesn't show up as an option on the system's online Trip Planner.

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