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Metro Commuters Can Find a Seat

Metro adds eight new cars to the Orange Line.

Like all commuters who use the Vienna Metro station, Bob Dunne doesn't have any problems finding a seat for his morning commute. In the evening, however, he faces standing room only as he enters the train from the Foggy Bottom station.

"You have to squeeze in sometimes," the Herndon resident said.

Because of the increasing volume of passengers who use Metro to go to work or play, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has added eight new subway cars to the Orange Line. These cars won't replace the current cars but will add to the number of subway cars available for passengers. More cars will be added within the upcoming months.

Commuters "will be able to get on a train," said Metro board chairman Christopher Zimmerman. "In Arlington, people say, I'm waiting for the train, and when it comes, it's full. That's frustrating for people."

The subway cars, called the 5000 Series, were first introduced on the Green Line system in August 2001. Currently, the Green Line has 70 of the 5000 Series cars, although some of them are undergoing final safety tests.

Passengers riding the new cars will notice, in particular, the change in color scheme. Instead of orange, passengers will sit on Potomac blue seats. Electronic signs on either end of the car will tell passengers what stop is next.

"It was time to get a little more updated and contemporary with the color scheme," Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.

The new trains look nice to Vienna resident Maryann Flynn. Flynn, a Metro commuter for 11 years, also has difficulty finding a seat in the afternoon when she enters the system at Farragut West.

The new cars "are nice, they seem roomier. Hopefully they'll be less crowded," Flynn said.

Regardless of the new trains, Dunne says he'll still use the Metro.

"I used to drive up to Bethesda. This is a less stressful commute," Dunne said.