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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Cherry blossoms might be calling visitors back to Washington, WMATA


Warmer temperatures and anticipation of cherry trees blooming seem to have prompted more visitors to descend on Washington, D.C. — at least that’s how Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Chief Operating Officer Lem Proctor sees it.

Weekdays between March 15 and March 26, WMATA daily ridership topped the 600,000 mark — and surpassed 2001’s figures.

"We figure that some of these riders may be visitors as well as commuters making their daily trip to and from work," said Proctor in a prepared statement.

And that’s good news: decreased tourism to Washington seriously impacted WMATA’s off-peak ridership following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.