D.C. Metrorail Ridership Is Plunging

A comparison of ridership on the D.C. Metro between October 2014 and October 2016 is ugly (boldface mine):


You’ll notice D.C. Metro is at the bottom.

When I broke it out by region, there was really no difference: across the board, there has been a 21% drop (i.e., it’s not declining city or suburban use). While I haven’t been able to find daily use data, it seems that ‘off-peak travel’, which includes weekend use, has plunged even more, according to many reports. That shouldn’t be surprising, since using Metro on the weekend has been a nightmare for the last three years.

While there has been a shift in many cities to Uber and Lyft, I think that’s a response to bad public transit. If you were going somewhere on the weekend, why would you take Metro if you didn’t have to: Sunday, for example, much of the Red Line had a train every 24 minutes. Connecting lines weren’t much better.

I realize there is so much maintenance to be done, but WMATA needs to find a way to make weekend service better. That gets people thinking of Metro as a transit system, not just an alternative commuting system–and that means people are more invested in the system.

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1 Response to D.C. Metrorail Ridership Is Plunging

  1. Here in the Buffalo area, the public transit system is run by the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority (NFTA). I swear that the NFTA’s mission statement is “FU, buy a car already”. If you want to go anywhere on the weekends, you end up walking. Honestly, this is true during the week, too. I can look at the bus schedule & determine that I walk faster to where I’m going than I can waiting for a bus or for a transfer. If you have to take more than one bus anywhere, generally you do walk. I can see the future of bus service in Buffalo & there won’t be any in fifteen to twenty years. And yet … most busses are PACKED.

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