Metrorail ridership stabilized in FY 2015, and that’s exactly what we said would happen.
We’ve seen from previous posts that total Metorail ridership had been experiencing its cyclical swoon following the housing bust and economic collapse of 2008. Despite the volatile market, system ridership stabilized over the last few years – this past year may mark the beginning of the next phase of Metrorail ridership growth. In Fiscal Year 2015, average weekday Metrorail ridership grew by just over 1.5%.
The biggest swing of course is the difference in October: in October of 2013, we experienced the ridership loss due to the prolonged Federal Government shutdown; that didn’t happen in October of 2014. Another interesting difference is that in FY 2014 there were five snow days during the winter, compared to only two snow days during the winter of FY 2015. So, even when discounting the October effect, ridership was still up slightly year over year – a good sign for Metro and the region that helps support its services! And of course, the new Silver Line stations are helping to drive growth as well.
Meanwhile, we are continuing to experience strong growth in Metrobus routes where we have executed operational innovations. Metro stands ready to work with jurisdictions and replicate these successes elsewhere.
This isn’t the end of the story. The region’s pipeline of transit oriented development is going to accelerate this ridership growth, and in the next post we’ll provide just one example by detailing the expected ridership impacts of the exciting new project proposed for Rhode Island Avenue.