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Are Your Trains More Crowded?

This is getting to be a daily event: Friday was another extremely high ridership day for Metrorail.

The 829,998 trips taken made it the third highest ridership date in the system's 32-year history. The total was 24,845 more rides than on the comparable date last year.

Metro made several similar announcements last week, as dates broke into the top all-time list for ridership. In fact, says the transit authority, nine dates since April have made their way into the top dozen for ridership.

On Friday, the Nationals and Mystics games in Washington padded the total. But on several other days last week, there was no special event.

Are you seeing more people on your trains? And how about those of you who ride buses? (The transit authority can only estimate the bus ridership in calculating that about 1.2 million trips are taken on Metro rail and bus each day.)

By Robert Thomson  |  June 23, 2008; 2:36 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Next: Updates on Maryland Commuter Buses


In any other city, this would be great news, as more riders would mean more political pressure to fully fund and improve the system.

But here, I have mixed emotions at best, since it just means more crowding... given that the man who stands in the way of meaningful system improvements is not answerable to any Metro riders, but to the Oklahoma electorate.

Metro needs a real funding source. Yesterday.

Posted by: dal20402 | June 23, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I would like to give wmata a break, but, I still see high-density ridership on the orange line. People are packed like sardines in a can. The a.m. rush hour is bearable, but evening commutes are rough - especially with mechanical breakdowns (just this evening I saw an 8-car to N.C. with one car completely dark/empty). It seems to me that service is getting worse, not better. So, what is wmata doing about all of this?

Btw, dr. gridlock, how does wmata rank, when compared to other rail systems used in the USA? I think that would be of interest to all commuters.

Posted by: pjd1020 | June 23, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

not sure why dal20402 think Oklahoma should put any more money into the failed Metro system

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse


It's the second busiest subway system in the United States.

Posted by: Will | June 24, 2008 2:15 AM | Report abuse

What is needed is more buses along major arteries such as Rte. 7, Rte. 50 and Rte. 29. Buses that run every ten minutes, have limited stops and run along the major artery only (and not take a detour at every other block to provide access to this or that subdivision). Such a scheme would be akin to adding three new metro lines at a relatively low cost.

Posted by: Fawaz Saraf | June 24, 2008 5:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm a new DC resident, but I was surprised to find the buses (Fairfax Connector) as crowded as they are. These buses in the morning and afternoon have nearly every seat filled on their way to and from the Vienna Metro. I think it's great...they run every 10-15 minutes and it keeps 30-40 people off 66...and it's so handy to be able to use the metro SmarTrip card on the bus as well.

Posted by: DLM | June 24, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

This morning, the second in five commuting days, a bum was sleeping horizontally across a bench on the Red Line. Can we contact the train operator to get these guys kicked off the train? It's a subway, not a shelter. At $5.40 for my commute from Shady Grove, I shouldn't have to put up with bums taking up commuter space.

Posted by: Angry Commuter | June 24, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I've noticed a marked increase in riders on my bus line - the 8's Foxchase/Quaker Lane in Alexandria. They run during rush hour to/from the Pentagon. I used to sit relatively alone at the back of the bus, but now, every seat is full, sometimes standing.

While I think it's great that people are actually ditching the pump, I'm afraid that metro won't be able to deal with the increased ridership. Since they already have a reactive mentality instead of a proactive one, they're going to wait until it gets so bad to do something, and then it will get even worse while they try to think about it.

Oh well, maybe at some point, we'll be able to send a message to the money grubbing oil giants.

Posted by: LV | June 24, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

"not sure why dal20402 think Oklahoma should put any more money into the failed Metro system"

Not sure why Oklahoma residents think Woodley Park should pay their farm subsidies too. But I do.

Sometimes we have to pay for stuff we don't benefit from, or marginally benefit from, in order to have other people pay for stuff we do benefit from. Metro is important to our economy, just like farms are important to Oklahoma's economy. Farms benefit me indirectly by growing food that I eat, just like Federal govt. officials being able to get to work indirectly benefits Oklahoma becuase they have access to Federal programs and can apply for Federal dollars as a result.

Posted by: Woodley Park | June 24, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

What the fukk do farms have to do with Metro?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

For those who haven't been following and seem to be confused...

...the issue has nothing to do with farms. The problem is that capital improvements for Metro are currently being held up by a single Senator, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

This is not WMATA's fault. It's Senator Coburn's fault. And the frustrating thing is that, although it affects all DC-metro-area commuters every day, only Oklahoma voters can do anything about it. Logically enough, they don't care.

Posted by: dal20402 | June 24, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I applaud Senator Coburn for standing up against pork and waste. Nobody in America can waste money better than WMATA.

Posted by: NOVA | June 24, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like dal20402 has a weird Tom Coburn obsession and Woodley Park just doesn't have a clue:

Dr. Coburn Rejects $300 Billion Giveaway to Bureaucrats and Lobbyists Masked as a Farm Bill
House, Senate Remove Coburn Amendments Behind Closed Doors

May 15, 2008

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today after voting against the Farm Bill. The bill was passed by 81-15 and will likely be vetoed by the President.

"As food and gas prices reach record highs and families are feeling the strain on their budgets, this bill does nothing to help improve the quality of life for farmers and hard-working families. Rather, this bill gives billions to huge conglomerates, special interest groups and inefficient nutrition programs. Congress has put their elections and parochial interests ahead of traditional farmers and middle class families," Dr. Coburn said.

The final version of the legislation expands subsidies to many non-essential crops such as strawberries and other fruits and vegetables, increases sugar costs by $2 billion annually for taxpayers and does nothing to remove wasteful, duplicative and unnecessary programs at the already bloated United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The bill also does little to address payments to deceased farmers and limit subsidies to non-farming land owners.

"After more than a year of negotiations on the Farm Bill, Congress has produced a bill that is bad for American agriculture, consumers and taxpayers. It is clear that elected leaders in Washington have lost sight of what this bill means to so many making an honest living providing food for our nation. Congress has put the priorities of special interest non-farm lobbyists over the long-term interests of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers. This is not a farm bill. It is a nutrition/social programs bill, with a few farm programs thrown in," said Dr. Coburn.

Coburn amendments that were eliminated behind closed doors include:

• A provision Coburn offered was removed that prohibited federal funds for the construction of the water garden (a "gift" from China), and required an annual report that would detail costs of operating the Arboretum.
• Coburn's provision prohibiting payments to farmers who have been deceased for more than two years was removed.
• Coburn's amendment that would have kept non-farming land owners from receiving subsidies and grants, leaving more scarce dollars for real farmers and ranchers.
• Coburn's amendment to require GAO to study and report on federal hunger programs effectiveness measurements for several overlapping and duplicative programs and grants.

Examples of waste and misplaced priorities within the bill include:

· $170 million to be distributed to commercial and recreational members of the fishing communities affected by the salmon fishery failure in the States of California, Oregon, and Washington.
· $2.5 billion for "specialty crops" which include: strawberries, blueberries, grapes for wine, citrus fruits, figs, herbs, pistachios and 100 other "specialty crops."
· The bill extends and enhances support for domestic sugar and sugar beet monopolies.
· The bill increases spending for duplicative and inefficient nutrition programs by over $10 billion.
· The ethanol subsidies and import tariffs are extended when food prices are skyrocketing.
· The Nature Conservancy will be the beneficiary of $250 million in taxpayer funds for the purchase of property in Montana and protecting "native fish habitat."
· The bill will give grants to local governments, non-profits and tribes to "acquire private forest land" that may be threatened by development which could infringe on private property rights.
· "Such sums" as necessary for historic barn preservation.
· Does nothing to address the fact that the USDA, if a private company, would be the 6th largest in the United States.
· Funds necessary for Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network.
· $3.75 million for the University of the District of Columbia to upgrade agriculture and food science facilities.
· $15 million market loss assistance for asparagus growers resulting from imports during the 2004-2007 crop years.
· $50 million for the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center (a two person office) in Washington, DC.

Posted by: Arl | June 24, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Arl- do you really not get it?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The fact is, people from Oklahoma gladly accept the farm subsidies, even if Coburn voted against them. If the vote was 15 - 85, then Coburn obviously he knew he could vote against it just for show to "prove" that he is being "fiscally responsible". Maybe comparing Metro subsidies to farm subsidies was a bad comparison. So just look at the next point I will make.

When it comes to Metro funding, *one* senator, from Oklahoma, is single handedly holding up funding. Where is the outrage? Is this what democracy is all about? If the vast majority of American people don't want to fund Metro for their government workers, then fine. But why can't we at least have a debate and vote on the Senate floor over the issue? What makes Oklahoma so special where their senator has unanimous veto power over Metro funding? I bet if it were put to a Senate floor vote there would be plenty of Senators in favor. Would it be a majority? Maybe, maybe not. But we can't know because of Senator Coburn from Oklahoma. That is not democracy.

Posted by: Woodley Park | June 25, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Woodley Park, are you actually such an ignorant douchebag that you've never heard of the Senate before?

Newsflash 1776: America is not a democracy.

Posted by: wtf | June 25, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Dan | June 25, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Actually, if WMATA got off their butts and informed their riders of this, perhaps got a call for action going, many daily commuters would have the opportunity to flood Sen. Coburn's office with letters. At the very least, sending letters to the Senate to ask them for help. I know I would have sent a letter if the opportunity were presented.

Sounds like WMATA needs a government affairs shop that isn't asleep at the wheel.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

WMATA needs a government affairs shop? How about trying to run WMATA right (or at least half-competently) in the first place?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

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