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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Survey: WMATA posts double-digit ridership increase during five-year period

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail ridership has grown 11 percent, or by 70,000 people, during the past five years, according a ridership survey conducted earlier this year.

The authority posted more than 717,000 average weekday passenger trips compared with about 647,000 in 2002, when WMATA conducted its last rider survey. Evening ridership grew at an even higher clip — 22 percent — as more passengers began using Metrorail to travel to events, shopping centers and restaurants.

Nearly 27 percent of WMATA passengers live in the District of Columbia, a 17 percent increase compared with five years ago’s total. More than 18 percent live in Montgomery County, Md., and 16 percent, in Prince George’s County, Md. — a combined 8 percent increase since 2002. Most of the growth occurred around stations where there’s been retail and residential development.

About 66,000 people, or 9 percent of all WMATA passengers, completed the survey, which was conducted between April and May. WMATA will use the survey results for service and station access planning, as well as to help determine the amount of money local governments need to contribute to the agency’s operating budget.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/7/2007