Metro Ridership Plummets; Millions in Lost Revenue Expected

A commuter wears a protective face mask while riding on a subway train in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 16, 2020.
Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Metro reported a decrease in ridership following its announcement encouraging residents to only use public transportation when it's essential.

Ridership on Metrorail fell by 84%, with 110,000 riders on Wednesday. Metro tweeted it was a good day for responsibility, social distancing, the common good and shared sacrifice.

For Tuesday, Metro reported a 79% decrease in ridership, with 140,000 riders. In comparison, Metro had 660,000 riders on the same day last year.

Low ridership will cost WMATA $52 million or more in lost revenue, General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said. In addition, Metro reported it spent $17 million on protective equipment such as face masks and gloves for employees.

Wiedefeld wrote a letter asking Congress for financial assistance.

"Federal assistance is critical to help us offset the direct costs and revenue losses we are facing," he wrote. "We need support to transit operations, but traditional transit formulas are not designed to address our unique circumstances."

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