Metro Ridership Still Falling

Today, I’ve put together MetroRail and MetroBus ridership over the same period from July though March for FY2017 and FY2018.

Among the nine months with comparable data, MetroRail ridership was up over the previous year in four months and down in five months. The months with decline, especially January, saw overall greater slump than the months with gain.

As a result, MetroRail ridership for more recent period is a net 1.57 million lower, or 1.2%, over the previous year. Metro should find this very discouraging. SafeTrack ended, at least temporarily, in June 2017, so the current year is completely post-SafeTrack. Its completion along with the “Back to Good” campaign has simply not halted the long-term hemorrhage.

Moreover, one can hardly blame the decline from December through March on a brutal winter this year. This planned closing of  stations in summer from 2018 through 2021 for weeks on end doesn’t seem likely to help matters either.

If you think the rail numbers are somewhat discouraging, take a look at the bus numbers.

MetroBus ridership is off by 8.6 million (!) over the previous year, an incredible decline 9.4%. No month saw a year-to-year increase. Declines in ridership impact Metro’s budget, as it depends on fares to provide a significant portion of its budget.

Data Sources: Vital Signs Report (Q1-2017), p. 21; Metro Performance Report (Q3-2018), p. 40.