Metrorail sets new record for highest ridership day of all time
Inaugural record set before 5 p.m.
Even before the day had ended, Metro set ridership records on Inauguration Day.
People took 973,285 trips as of 7 p.m. The figure breaks the all time rail ridership record of 866,681, which was set yesterday.
“Throughout the weekend, we've effectively dealt with record breaking crowds. By 5 p.m., people had taken nearly 874,000 trips, breaking yesterday’s ridership record with nine more hours of service to go,” said Metro General Manager John Catoe.
Metro saw unprecedented crowds throughout the day. Several parking lots started filling at end-of-the-line stations before 5:30 a.m. At the request of local law enforcement, Metro let motorists through some lots without paying after lines of vehicles began to back up on local roads. Delays also were caused by riders blocking doors and causing breakdowns, and a woman fell onto the tracks at Gallery-Place Chinatown Metrorail station, which disrupted service at the station and Metro Center for about 45 minutes. Federal Triangle Metrorail station also was closed for four-and-a-half hours unexpectedly due to local law enforcement’s concerns about crowding at the National Mall. However, Metro officials say the biggest reason for delays was the sheer volume of people. Police periodically held people from entering extremely crowded stations until crowds on the station platforms eased.
“Our Metro system wasn't designed to transport this many people in such a short time, but we’re doing it. There have been some hiccups along the way, but we have been flexible and reacted as best and as quickly as we could given the unprecedented crowds and circumstances outside of Metro’s control,” said Metro General Manager John Catoe.
Most of Metrorail’s top 20 highest weekday ridership days have occurred in the summer of 2008. Combined with Metrobus ridership, Metro provides more than 1.2 million trips on an average weekday. Metro will release final Inauguration Day ridership numbers tomorrow.
Metrorail’s Top 20 Weekday Ridership Days
Date Ridership Event
1 01-20-09 973,285 (as of 7 p.m.) Obama Inauguration
2 01-19-09 866,681 Obama inaugural events
3 07-11-08 854,638 Baseball/Women of Faith Conference
4 06-09-04 850,636 Reagan State Funeral
5 06-25-08 846,388 Smithsonian Folklife Festival/Baseball
6 07-10-08 844,530 Baseball
7 07-08-08 835,072 Baseball/Basketball
8 07-02-08 834,956 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
9 04-03-07 831,508 Cherry Blossoms/Baseball
10 06-24-08 831,464 Baseball/Basketball
11 06-20-08 829,998 Baseball/Basketball
12 04-24-08 828,973 Baseball/Basketball
13 04-17-08 828,418 Pope Visit/Soccer
14 04-11-08 828,132 Baseball/Cherry Blossoms
15 06-27-08 825,862 Smithsonian Folklife Festival/Baseball
16 06-18-08 823,516 No Event
17 07-01-08 822,931 No Event
18 04-10-06 821,283 Immigrant Rights Rally
19 06-19-08 819,979 No Event
20 06-26-08 819,722 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
News release issued at 8:16 pm, January 20, 2009.