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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Silver Line ridership beats projections, WMATA says


Less than two months after opening, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) new Silver Line has reached 60 percent of its projected ridership for the end of the first full year of service, agency officials announced today.

As of last week, an average of 15,000 riders were entering the system at the five new Silver Line stations on weekdays for a combined 30,000 trips to or from the new stations, according to a WMATA press release. In the planning process, Silver Line ridership was projected to reach 25,000 boardings at the five new stations after a year of service.

Silver Line service began July 26 between Wiehle-Reston East Station in Fairfax County, Va., and Largo Town Center in Prince George's County, Md. The new rail line represented the largest expansion of Metrorail since 1991.

Agency officials estimate the line is adding about 6,000 new riders — making about 12,000 trips — to the Metrorail system each weekday. The balance, approximately 9,000 riders, are primarily former Orange Line riders who have switched to the Silver Line, WMATA officials said.

Wiehle-Reston East remains the Silver Line’s most popular, having already surpassed first-year ridership projections with 8,400 boardings, or 16,800 weekday entries and exits. Wiehle-Reston East’s commute makes up about half the line’s ridership.

Tysons Corner Station is one of the few stations on the Metrorail system where ridership has been higher on Saturday than regular weekdays.

"In addition to being a great way to travel in Virginia and D.C., we are pleased to see the Silver Line is also connecting the region more broadly," said WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Richard Sarles. "On weekday mornings, nearly 10 percent of riders entering at the five new Silver Line stations are bound for stations in Maryland, and 17 percent of the riders exiting at the five new Virginia stations start their trips in Maryland."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/24/2014