- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 11, 2023

Cherry blossom season is almost here, both for Washington-area residents and Metro. To celebrate the season, Metro debuted two buses and a six-car train wrapped in a blossom pattern Friday.

Both buses, wrapped in pink and white, as well as the six-car pink train, display the words “the blossoms are calling.” The train will run on all of Metrorail’s lines during the season, and the buses will be used around the region.

In its announcement, Metro indicated that the transit system’s live bus and train tracker will have a “special edition” tab showing exactly where the blossom train and buses are.

Cherry blossom season means higher ridership for Metro, as tourists flock to D.C.’s Tidal Basin to see the blooms. Extra trains and buses will be used to manage the expected crowds.

Maintenance work will be pushed to the night, starting after 10 p.m. for four weeks beginning March 20.

For customers who want a 2023 cherry blossom SmarTrip card, they will sold at machines at the L’Enfant Plaza, Navy Yard and Metro Center rail stations.

As for the cherry trees themselves, the National Park Service indicated that at least 70% of them had reached the third stage of blooming, the extension of florets, as of Tuesday. 

The National Park Service is at projecting that at least 70% of the trees will reach the final stage, the peak bloom, from March 22 to March 25.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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