Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Metro Does it Again: Over 1 Million Trips

Inauguration Day 2009 will be a hard record to break for Metro. With the system straining to contain all of the visitors yesterday, reports came in of hours long waits just to get into stations near the Mall.

Red Line service was interrupted yesterday morning when a 78 year old woman fell onto the tracks at Gallery Place. Crisis was averted narrowly by a fellow passenger and a transit cop from Houston's Metro (LRT). Even though the woman was not struck, Red Line service was suspended for 45 minutes at Metro Center and Gallery Place.

With the Parade still streaming by the White House at 5PM, almost 874,000 trips had been taken, surpassing Metro's previous record ridership, set on the eve of the Inauguration, January 19. Two hours later that number had surged by another 100,000 to 973,285.

By the time I took my first subway trip of the day around 7:45, Metro was calming down. There were plenty of seats on my train. U Street, where I exited, was about as busy as normal for a weekday evening. My second trip was even quieter, when I returned home about 9:30 the system was a lot emptier than normal for a weeknight--despite headways of 20 minutes.

Overall, I think that Metro handled everything very well. No transportation system can handle major periods of demand all at once very well, but transit can do a much better job than roads. Hopefully Mr. Obama will make transit as integral a part of his policy as it was to his inauguration.

We're still waiting for official numbers from Metro, but we know that the 1 million mark was passed. We shouldn't have to wait too long for the official count from WMATA to determine our contest winner.

Do you have stories to share about yesterday?

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