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Metro Sets New Sunday Rider Recordship

Metro says yesterday's crowd for the inaugural welcoming ceremony and concert at the Lincoln Memorial set a Sunday ridership record of 616,324 trips, surpassing July 4, 1999 which had 540,945 trips. And the event went relatively smoothly, with no major malfunctions and no accidents.

Meantime, in other transportation-related news, environmental advocates are concerned about the impact on air quality caused by the thousands of buses that are about to descend on Washington.

To minimize pollution, especially black carbon emissions from diesel engines, the city is asking bus drivers not to idle their engines in accordance with the District’s anti-idling laws. Idling alone can consume up to a gallon of fuel per hour, according to a 2006 EPA report. City law limits idling to three minutes for every vehicle carrying 12 or more passengers. Vehicles may idle for five minutes to operate heating equipment when the temperature drops below 32 degrees.

Alan Heymann, a spokesman for the District Department of the Environment, said the department’s Air Quality Division has placed 1,000 signs across the city to remind incoming bus drivers of the anti-idling laws.

“We just hope that they’ll be mindful of that when they’re here for the visit,” Heymann said. “You want to be hospitable and you want to make sure that the visitors tread as lightly as possible.”

Clean Air Watch Director Frank O’Donnell said the “virtual armada of diesel buses” rolling into town this week might actually have a positive impact. Black clouds of soot might be exactly what it will take to raise awareness for policy change, he said.

“We may have a graphic and unhealthful display of the need to tackle those engines,” he said.

By Lena H. Sun and Janie Boschma

By David A Nakamura  |  January 19, 2009; 11:35 AM ET  | Category:  Transportation
Previous: Secret Service Won't Disable Cell Phone Service | Next: Watch the Post's Concert Video and Photos -- And Add Yours

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