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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA posts record ridership, prepares for holiday

Just when it seems increasing rail ridership may be slowing its strong pace, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) ridership breaks another record.

On June 14, the agency posted its third-highest weekday ridership in its 25-year history, carrying 702,131 passengers -- without any special event to bloat the numbers. And a day earlier Metrorail trains carried 690,586 passengers, marking the fourth-highest weekday ridership.

"These ridership numbers underscore how vital Metro is to the residents of the nation’s capital," said WMATA General Manager Richard White in a prepared statement.

As some employees tally ridership numbers, others are preparing for the one day of the year that traditionally brings swarms of passengers to Washington, D.C.: the Independence Day celebrations on the National Mall.

Trains will take different routes to accommodate traffic patterns, and parking at WMATA-owned and operated lots will be free July 4. Shuttle bus service will be free from 6 p.m. to closing, and will operate every 15 minutes between Franconia-Springfield Station and Springfield Mall at Macy’s. Free shuttle bus service also will be offered in select areas after the fireworks display.

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More News from 6/19/2001