15 Jan 2020


Rejoice: More people are riding Metro (rail)!

Happiness is a tiny train. Adorable photo via the @MetroForward feed on Instagram

There are two types of people: Those who love Metro and those who ride Metro on a daily basis. Okay, I kid. As a regular Metro rider, I love the system. But there is no denying that it’s had its share of troubles. Good thing that things are looking up for WMATA. From a press release:

Metrorail’s ridership growth trend can now be expressed in years, with the system posting a 4-percent increase in passenger trips for the 2019 calendar year, ending a downward trend that lasted most of the prior decade. Total rail ridership was 182 million trips, compared to 175 million in 2018, a net increase of seven million trips, reflecting increasing customer confidence in Metro’s reliability and on-time performance.

Ridership increased across all days of the week, including a 3.3 percent increase in weekday travel—the equivalent of 20,000 additional trips per commuting day. Metrorail’s average weekday ridership now stands at 626,000. 

Notably, weekends accounted for a quarter of overall rail ridership growth, with average Saturday ridership increasing 9.4 percent to 264,000 trips, and average Sunday ridership increasing 6.5 percent to 168,000 trips. 

In addition to the increased ridership, the trains are just plain arriving on time a lot more often– being punctual almost 90% of the time. Good job, Metro! You can read the rest of the release here.

And it seems like it’s just a really good time to be a train transit system. Earlier this week, CityLab had a really interesting article about how to interpret the countrywide gains in public transportation. You can also read this Greater Greater Washington analysis of how each mode of transportation is either recovering or leveling off in our area. This analysis was carried out using open data and data from MetroHero. Fascinating.

Alas, it’s not all wine and roses, and bus ridership is down. Listen, if the D6 went by every 10 minutes instead of every 26, I would ride nothing else. But until that particular beloved route has dedicated bus lanes on Massachusetts Avenue (and good luck with that), the hike to Union Station is worth it. Other routes that would benefit from a dedicated bus lane are definitely the 90-92 routes along 8th Street (PLEASE) and the 30s along Pennsylvania Avenue. Please Please Please make this happen, whoever is in charge of these things. Dedicated bus lanes and tough enforcement of those bus lanes helps traffic flow more smoothly– especially because CityLab tells us so.

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