Metrorail Ridership Drops to 2004 Levels

People are walking away from Metrorail, meaning the cash-strapped transit agency is generating less revenue.

A new report from the transit agency shows December marked the fifth consecutive month of low rail ridership. The trend is affecting just about every station and every time period, and it is costing Metro tens of millions of dollars.

Weekday ridership is down 6 percent and weekend ridership is down 12 percent compared to fiscal year 2015.

"We have to make sure that the customer is on board with us, and right now I don't think that they are," General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said.

In the past 12 months, median travel times, unpredictability of travel times and the frequency of severe delays have increased, the report found, which mean riders are forced to anticipate more travel time.

"It's sometimes easier for me to just walk or even get off and take the bus than it is for me to sit for 45 minutes,” rider Hannah Goodman said. “If it was on time it should take maybe 15 or 20 minutes."

Ridership numbers are the lowest they have been since 2004, and there's not one particular event or poor weather to explain the decrease, though the Blue and Orange lines were particularly affected by service disruptions due to the Stadium-Armory substation fire.

But there are many who say Metro does work for them.

"I've been very fortunate, and it's been working for me," rider Elizabeth Collins said.

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