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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

WMATA prepares passengers for possible ridership surge

As gas prices continue to rise, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) officials expect more people will begin using the Metrorail system to get to and from work. Gasoline costs in the D.C. area are among the highest in the nation, according to a prepared statement.

So, WMATA officials are encouraging passengers to avoid traveling during the busiest hours of the day — between 7:45 a.m. and 8:45 a.m., and 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. — because the system already is near capacity during those periods.

"We have additional space in our rail cars to carry more peole on the ‘shoulders’ of the peak hours, during the mid-day and evenings, and in the ‘reverse commute’ directions," said WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Richard White. "If people have the flexibility to travel on the shoulders of the peak periods, it will be a much more comfortable commute for everyone."

If rail ridership does increase, commuter might have to wait longer on the platforms to board a train that isn’t at capacity, WMATA says.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/9/2005