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Metro ridership tumbles

Airports | Amtrak | Buses | Capital Weather Gang | D.C. snow emergency | Plowing plans | Rails | Snow removal | Live traffic

Metro's revenue is taking a hit from record-low rail and bus ridership during the recent storms.

On Wednesday, Metro recorded only about 36,000 passenger trips -- breaking the previous record low rail ridership of 56,000 trips on Dec. 25, 2006, according to a Metro statement. That figure also contrasts with the more than 670,000 trips taken on Feb. 3, the agency said.

The drop in rail and bus revenue as well as increased costs for snow and ice removal and other storm-related expenses add to budgetary pressures for the transit agency. Metro recently decided to raise fares by 10 cents across the board as part of an effort to close a $40 million budget gap for the remainder of this fiscal year. Officials have estimated the agency faces a budget shortfall of about $190 million for next fiscal year.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

By Michael Bolden  |  February 11, 2010; 1:17 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , transit  | Tags: Metro, WMATA  
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Comments

Let me see. Metro suspends bus and surface rail service and runs (in dry, non-storm affected tunnels) train service once every roughly half-hour and expects what? An increase in ridership? Since the June accident the only apparent visible improvements Metro has made is that Metro seems to have perfected an ability to increase ways to inconvenience its customers.

Posted by: jacewbal | February 11, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Since Metro loses money on every ride, shouldn't this be a good thing?

Posted by: member8 | February 11, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

You'd think. But the problem is that Metro doesn't necessarily "lose money per ride"....it loses money on running trains. It costs the same amount to run a train whether it is full or has 2 people on it.

Its operating costs are probably greater these past few days, since they are running less trains, but more than make up for that with the costs of snow removal.

Posted by: thetan | February 11, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, though, Metro can't possibly be surprised that they've had fewer riders. I'm probably a typical enough example: I live on the Shady Grove end of the Red Line and take either Metro or the J9 Metrobus to get to work. As they haven't run either of those out here all week, I haven't used Metro since last Friday, and I won't be doing so until they re-open one of those two options. Factor in the number of others in that same situation, and I'm sure it adds up to a sizable dent in rider numbers--tho not necessarily, as thetan points out, in revenue.

Posted by: angelcat | February 11, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I would have gladly paid a premium fare to ride metro during this week.. if that's what it would have taken for them to open more stations and have more frequent trains. I tried to ride from L'enfant plaza to Columbia Heights on Monday at 6pm and waited close to an hour for a train. I expected to wait 25 to 30 mins, but an hour is ridulous, especially considering that trains were only running underground.. seems like they could have been a tad more frequent. esp at that time.

Posted by: nbreese2 | February 11, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

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