The Impact of a Snow Day on Ridership

February 19th, 2015

Tuesday’s snow day cut ridership by 70-80% on rail and bus, as the region dug out from a snowstorm.

Snow and federal government closures can have a big impact on ridership here on Metro, and Tuesday February 17 was no exception. Ridership on Metrobus and Metrorail was down significantly as snow kept many buses off the roads and as many commuters stayed home. Service was reduced: Metrorail operated on a Saturday schedule, and Metrobus only began resuming operations around late morning. The numbers are preliminary, particularly on Metrobus, where not all fareboxes have reported in yet. Nevertheless, here’s what ridership by hour looked like compared to the previous Tuesday for context:

Snow Day 2.17.2015 ridership v2

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  1. Jason
    February 19th, 2015 at 11:52 | #1

    Are you serious? You charged peak fares for Saturday service. Heaven forbid you consider the possibility that, rather than people staying home because of snow, what actually happened is that you induced people to stay home or drive to work by ripping people off for Saturday service.

  2. dcvoterboy
    February 19th, 2015 at 11:54 | #2

    Why no mention of WMATA service changes on FEB 17 in your anaysis? I would think that suspending all Metrobus service and going to a Saturday service schedule on Metrorail also had a dramatic impact on ridership.

    ” Metro announces service changes for Tuesday, February 17 >>

  3. Jason
    February 19th, 2015 at 11:56 | #3

    Good point by dcvoterboy. How many people couldn’t even get to a Metro due to bus service being suspended?

  4. Jason
    February 19th, 2015 at 11:56 | #4

    a Metro station.*

  5. Justin
    February 19th, 2015 at 12:34 | #5

    @dcvoterboy There was a brief reference to service, but I’ve made it more explicit now – good point thanks!

  6. Michael P
    February 20th, 2015 at 09:08 | #6

    What’s the revenue impact of a day off for Federal workers?

  7. Gingerlocks
    February 21st, 2015 at 15:30 | #7

    Ridership is down for reasons unrelated to snow: Your service is unreliable and dangerous. Elevators and escalators don’t work. People die trying to get home to loved ones. Stop blaming the “weather” and start fixing your broken infrastructure!

  8. Pria
    March 10th, 2015 at 11:40 | #8

    On days when federal offices are two hours delayed (due to weather), one would expect Metro to respond to that change by continuing peak service into mid-morning. Alas, that did not happen. Come 9:15 and everything seems to running at off-peak hours.
    So quick to shift to Saturday service but ignoring the need for continued peak service.

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