Chart of the Week: Influencing Factors on Weekend Metrorail Ridership

November 13th, 2012

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.


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  1. November 14th, 2012 at 15:26 | #1

    Very neat to see! I don’t suppose you’re able to release any finer detail, such as graphs or raw data at a 24-hr resolution rather than 1-month?

    • Michael
      November 14th, 2012 at 15:40 | #2

      Hi, Bossi. Could you be more specific as to what you’d want to see? The data in the chart above at a daily resolution would be very difficult to read.

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