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Metro and Baseball

From Dr. Gridlock: The Metro transit authority puts out an interesting Top Ten List every time ridership on the rail system is high enough to break into that category. Baseball -- 2006 Nationals baseball -- is cited by Metro as an important contributing factor in four of the current Top Ten entries.

The highest ranking ballgame date on the Metro list is Tuesday, June 13, when the Nationals lost 9-2 to the Colorado Rockies. On that date, which ranks at number 6 on the Top Ten list, 786,843 trips were taken on Metrorail.

Next up, at number 7, is Friday, June 16, when the New York Yankees beat the Nats, 7-5. (I took Metro to RFK Stadium for that sellout, and thought downtown service to Stadium-Armory worked well. Can't talk about the post-came crowd, because I had to leave early. My wife is a Red Sox fan, and hates to see the Yankees win.)

At number 8 is the list's most recent addition: Wednesday, July 26, when the Nats beat the San Francisco Giants, 4-3. Metro estimates 21,250 people rode the rails to that game, pushing the day's total ridership to 782,495.

Number 10 on the list is Friday, July 21, when the Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs, 7-6, and the team's new owners were promoting a new look at the stadium.

Nationals ridership pales by comparison to the number of tourists taking transit. (I know what you're thinking: They don't stand to the right, they think the "Doors Closing" message is part of the entertainment and they stare at the fare machines like they're looking at the controls on the space shuttle.)

Still, it's interesting to see a local event like a baseball game cited as a factor on a list dominated by five national events: the Reagan Funeral, the Immigrant Rights Rally, First Clinton Inaugural, Cherry Blossoms and Million Man March. By the way, that leaves just one Top Ten date when it appears nothing in particular was going on: April 20, when 780,820 trips were taken on Metrorail, ranks as the system's ninth busiest day.

By Robert Thomson  |  July 28, 2006; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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