Two-thirds of Metrorail riders take transit, walk, or bike to Metrorail for their morning commute.
Every morning, thousands of people walk through the faregates and into Metrorail. Did you ever wonder how they get to their station? Our 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey tells us the answer to this question, for the morning rush:
- More than a third (38%) of Metrorail riders get to the station in the morning by walking or biking.
- Another quarter arrive by bus – Metrobus, as well as other bus operators in the region.
- Another third arrive by car – most by parking at or near the station, but some by getting dropped off.
- Finally, about 4% of riders arrive via commuter rail – mostly at Union Station.
Of the 25,000 or so daily riders who access rail by “Other Bus,” the top three contributors are Fairfax Connector (6,700), Montgomery County’s RideOn (5,700), and private shuttles (4,900). Of those who parked at their station, one-third were driving from less three miles away. Carpooling to Metrorail is very low – we estimate average vehicle occupancy at 1.03 passengers per parked car.
The map below shows how the answer to “How Did They Get to the Station?” varies dramatically station to station. (For the sake of legibility on this map, I’ve simplified the access modes into 4 groups). Read more…
Average weekend ridership by month, FY08 to FY12.Events that impacted the average ridership during a given month are indicated with annotations.(Click for a larger version.)
A recent assessment of rail ridership over the past five years has concluded that in addition to moving people to and from work during the week, Metro also has a critical role to play in moving people to and from weekend activities and special/holiday events.
From the chart above, it is clear that Metrorail supports a large volume of travel to a wide variety of special events that are unique to the area:presidential inaugurations, issues rallies, and cultural events such as the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Metro is more than just a commuting tool: the hundreds of thousands of trips on weekends and holidays show that the rail system is busy on weekends, too.
It is also important to note that Metrorail is not immune from the impacts of severe weather, such as the massive weekend snowstorm in December of 2009 and Hurricane Irene in August of 2011, both of which cut into ridership and reduced revenues. And because weekend trips are more often discretionary than weekday work trips, the impact of weather on weekend ridership can be much greater (in percentage terms) than on weekdays.