To help the region and our partners plan alternatives and mitigate the impacts of SafeTrack, Metro releases rail ridership data applicable to this important maintenance effort.
Rail Link Volumes: This data describes the number of customers on board trains between two contiguous stations, for a given hour of the day, then assigned to rail links. For example, the link volume from Bethesda to Friendship Heights is the sum of everyone who boarded upstream, minus those who exited at or before Bethesda. This can be useful for planning SafeTrack mitigation efforts because it gives a first-order estimate of the potential demand for a bus bridge, for example.
When Metrorail closed on March 16th, tens of thousands of rail riders switched to bus, including almost 20,000 riders who took their first bus ride in over a month! Bus-to-bus transfers spiked 45%, and ridership surged in downtown and central areas but fell in the suburbs.
Special thanks to the Systems & Performance Analysis team in Bus Planning for their help developing this analysis.
When Metrorail closed on Wednesday, March 16, Metrobus braced for impact as over 700,000 displaced rail trips sought alternatives. But there was little time or capacity to significantly alter bus service. What happened to bus ridership?
Overall ridership as tallied by the farebox came in at just 5% over the monthly average, or about 20,000 additional trips. So the changes look fairly small given the volume of displaced rail trips.
But don’t be fooled by the bottom line. Underneath that total, a seismic shift was taking place. Read more…
Bus operators are trained to look for cyclists, but they can’t see you if you’re in their blind spot. Come see a bus’s blind spots for yourself at Fort Totten!
Unless you’ve driven a bus (or large truck) yourself, it can be hard to get a feel for where the blind spots are in real life. This Bike to Work Day (May 20th), come see for yourself what bus operators can — and, more importantly, can’t — see on the road. Metro’s Fort Totten pit-stop will feature a live Metrobus demonstration with experienced Metrobus instructors. Hop in the driver’s seat (and who doesn’t want to experience that air cushioning!), check the mirrors, and you’ll know where it’s safe to ride. While you’re there, brush up on your skills securing your bike on the bus’ bike rack.
When buses and bikes share space on the road, visibility is the key to safety. Metrobus operators receive regular training on safety around bicyclists, but they need your help as well.
Remember these tips when riding near buses: Read more…
Metro will host three Bike to Work Day pit-stops on May 20th; sign up now!
Friday May 20th is Bike to Work Day 2016, and Metro is gearing up to be part of the fun (Yes, biking to Metro counts!). While it may be appropriate that National Bike Month has opened with rainy Dutch weather, we’re optimistic that the sun will break through in time.
The new Metro SelectPass is structured to to maximize pilot participation while minimizing the risks. Making that happen involves overcommitting to truth in advertising – and we’re fine with that!
The two fare levels most likely to be popular for the SelectPass are $2.25 and $3.75.
We are excited about the launch of the new SelectPass pilot. As we have begun to roll out this new pass product, we are listening to your questions (via twitter, comments posted to articles, etc.) and we hope to address as many of them through the proper venues. PlanItMetro seems to be the best forum to answer the persistent question, “Is this really only for two fare levels, and why don’t you tell everyone that they can probably save money?”
Testing the capacity of the Fare System
When we roll out new features, we want to eliminate as many risks as possible before committing to them. In this case, the primary risk Metro faces is that our aging fare technology might not be able to accommodate a very different fare product such as SelectPass. So we developed a program to test the pass at two individual “levels” as a proof of concept and not push any limits of our fare collection technology. Read more…
DDOT’s 16th Street transit plan will benefit Metrobus riders, drivers and taxpayers alike and could “break even” in just a year and a half.
We know the problems with buses on 16th Street NW: overcrowding, slow speeds, lengthy boarding times, and bunched buses. While both the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Metro have made several small but important improvements in the past two years to improve traffic flow and increase bus capacity on 16th Street, both agencies realize that more needs to be done. Now, after a year of detailed study in partnership with Metro, DDOT has developed a set of recommendations (PDF) that will save time and improve the customer experience in the coming years. As an added bonus, it comes with a relatively cheap price tag, yielding great value for taxpayers.
Riders aboard a crowded S-Line bus (click for study information)
As Earth Day approaches, we’ve documented the strong foundation of sustainable practices at Metro in our newly updated Sustainability Report.
Metro has launched a rebuilding and service campaign that is aimed to bring riders back to Metro by providing safe effective and reliable service. Because service is one of the biggest sustainability benefits transit provides, rebuilding its ridership will help the authority reach the regional ridership, climate change and connected communities goals as outlined in Metro’s Sustainability Initiative.
Metro’s annual sustainability report provides a rare view into Metro’s efforts to achieve the sustainability goals it set for itself – reporting on successes and setbacks alike. The past and future projects list under each target reads like an encyclopedia of transit agency best practices from testing energy efficient switch heaters to designing pedestrian accessible stations.
Rebuilding sustainably where possible will help Metro achieve long term financial savings while creating a cleaner, more modern, safer, and more reliable system. These investments will help Metro on it’s trajectory to reach its ambitious but achievable sustainability targets. To read more about Metro’s achievements to date and upcoming projects, check out Metro’s 2016 Annual Sustainability Report.
Metro kicks off an evaluation of bus-only lane enforcement strategies.
Montgomery County uses bus cameras to enforce safe driving rules around school buses.
As the state and local departments of transportation begin to consider bus priority treatments (PDF) in earnest, their success will be dependent on the development and implementation of a comprehensive driver education and lane enforcement strategy prior to the bus lane installation.
New bus-only lanes are currently being implemented or are planned in many of our compact jurisdictions: Corridors currently under study include Georgia Avenue NW in DC, Rockville Pike in Montgomery County and Leesburg Pike in Northern Virginia. As BRT becomes a more popular and effective mode for cities seeking high-quality, higher-speed transit at a relatively low cost, there is an increasing interest in identifying strategies to successfully enforce vehicle restrictions in bus-only lanes. Read more…
Metrorail riders get excited; the 2016 Travel Trends Rail Passenger Survey is here! If you haven’t noticed all the orange in the stations yet (surveyors in orange Metro bibs handing out orange surveys, offering orange Travel Trends pens to fill them out), keep an eye out! Throughout April and May of 2016, WMATA (Metro) will be conducting the Travel Trends survey on a rolling basis throughout the system, to cover all 91 stations.
The Rail Passenger Survey is an FTA-mandated survey that Metro is required to administer every five years, or at least two years after the launch of new rail service (this year’s survey comes two years after the launch of the Silver Line). The primary use of the survey is to:
Improve our service and validate our internal systems.
Here is a video that summarizes the work being conducted and why it’s important:
Your answers to the survey contribute to the data used to support operating and planning activities—it provides us with greater insight into how we can best match service to fit the overall needs of our customers using the system.
Here is a sample of some of the questions we ask in the survey, and what your answers to those questions will be used for: Read more…
Seasonal trends: rail ridership follows a predictable pattern each year – peaking in the summer and around Cherry Blossoms, and reaching lows around the holidays. Compare the high seasonality of Arlington Cemetery to a more commuter-oriented station, for example. Ridership in the summer at that station can quintuple over its winter base.
Notes: these numbers are raw entries for an average weekday in the month, including snow days, excluding holidays when we did not run a weekday schedule. The numbers are for trend analysis and will differ slightly from those we report in financial statements, which undergo additional data scrubbing and normalization.