Where Are Metro’s Federal Customers Going? (2 of 5)

December 1st, 2015

Employees of the federal government comprise 27% of Metro’s weekday ridership, but what rail stations and bus routes are they using?

(Second in a series of posts on Metro’s Federal Customers – see postĀ 1)

OnĀ Metrobus, federal workers are about 10-20% of most bus routes’ ridership, with a few logical exceptions. Federal ridership is higher on bus routes that are more “peaked” and commute-oriented, and/or on routes that directly serve federal facilities.

Top Metrobus Lines for Feds, by Pct of Riders

Top Metrobus Lines for Feds, by Number of Riders

Metrorail Origins by Federal Workers, AM Peak
On rail, most Metro’s federal customers are bound for the central D.C. core like most other commuters, but federal riders dominate certain destination stations much more than others. The maps below show the origin and destination stations of federal customers – bigger circles means more federal customers, and the color of the circle means the share of all riders who are federal (red = most riders are federal government employees, while blue = most riders are non-federal).

In the morning, many federal workers board at end-of-line stations, like Vienna, Franconia-Springfield, and Branch Avenue. This pattern mimics that of non-federal riders, but some stations are more federal than others. At Franconia-Springfield and Branch Avenue, for example, two-thirds of all riders are federal employees (dark red). But at other stations the federal share of ridership is 20-30% (blue).

Metrorail Destinations by Federal Workers, AM Peak

While federal workers look similar to non-federal where they board, there is a sharp distinction in their destinations. Federal workers are headed to the core, yes, but they are disproportionately headed to stations to the south and east of downtown. Exits at L’Enfant Plaza, for example, run 74% federal, whereas McPherson Square runs 34%. We can clearly see the dominance of the non-federal job market in the north and west of downtown, at stations like Farragut West, Farragut North, Foggy Bottom. We also see spikes in ridership from federal workers at stations outside the CBD where the GSA has located federal office buildings – Suitland, Navy Yard, Medical Center, NoMa. And of course Pentagon Station!

Coming up next – how Metro’s federal customers pay fares, and why it matters.

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