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Transit Advocates Say, 'Dump the Pump'

Today is the third annual Dump the Pump Day, and this may be the easiest sell yet for transit advocates.

The American Public Transportation Association and local transit agencies across the country are urging people to leave their cars at home today and try an alternative route to work. An online calculator lets you see how much you would save.

Around here, we've had some unfortunate experiences with that lately. Metrorail, the second largest rail transit system in the nation, had a ghastly first half of June, particularly on the Orange Line.

Despite that, Metro has been setting ridership records this spring. On Tuesday, Metrorail recorded the ninth highest weekday ridership in its 32 year history, with 812,686 trips taken.

Then Wednesday entered the books as the sixth highest ridership day, with 823,516 trips. That was 28,308 more than the comparable day last year, Metro says. It pushed Tuesday's ranking down to 10th highest.

Since April, Metro seven dates made it into the top 10 riders days. Often this spring, a ridership peak has occurred on a day when there was a baseball game or we had tourists in town for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Nothing special about Tuesday or Wednesday, though.

Metro is having an online contest related to Dump the Pump Day that will get the winner a $100 SmarTrip card. Go here on Metro's Web site to guess the Metrorail ridership for today. You have until midnight to complete that entry form. (I know what you're thinking, but a guess on what time the train will arrive doesn't win anything.)

By Robert Thomson  |  June 19, 2008; 7:20 AM ET
Categories:  transit  
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