While the powers that be in the D.C. area are fighting over late-night Metro rail service, it’s still worth noting, once again, that Metro weekend daytime service is still sucky. While I appreciate the importance and decent impulse behind keeping late night service, especially for lower income workers in the service industries, the drop off in weekend ridership is, to use a prominent local politician’s adjective, bigly.
Bad weekend service really hurts because it encourages people to own cars. Yes, I would rather have someone skip ten trips per week by not commuting, but not having or using a car at all does a lot more good for the environment.
It also means that too many people who are in a position to make decisions still, underneath it all, view non-commute travel on public transit as something only poor people do (or teenagers who can’t yet drive). Mass transit, when done right, is for, well, the masses. People who live near Metro–and typically are paying more for that (even in non-gentrified neighborhoods)–should be able to do crazy stuff like a day time trip to Capitol Hill, the Waterfront, the Smithsonian, or the Zoo that takes about the same time as driving and parking (note the “and parking”–driving on the weekend usually isn’t bad, it’s the finding parking that takes up a lot of time).
But that’s not going to happen until we have more elected officials and Metro system managers who use it.