Riders on Metro buses and trains reported on social media that their trains and buses seemed lighter than normal during Tuesday morningâ€™s rush hour.
Metrorail ridership in the morning rush hour was down slightly. At 10 a.m., ridership was down 6 percent to 238,500 people compared to 254,700 on Monday, according to Metro officials. Last Tuesday â€“ Sept. 24 â€“ ridership on Metrorail was 268,500 riders for the same time period, a 10 percent drop from Tuesdayâ€™s ridership numbers with the government shutdown in place.
Metro is not adding additional trains or increasing the frequency of trains at midday, when many federal workers are expected to leave their offices. Dan Stessel, Metroâ€™s chief spokesman, said â€śmidday service levelsâ€ť on the rail system â€śshould be adequate for ridership.â€ť
Trains in the core of Metroâ€™s rail system run every six minutes at midday and every three minutes at rush hours.
Stessel said Metro will monitor the situation at midday â€śand take appropriate action.â€ť If more trains are needed, he said, â€śwe have the abilityâ€ť to add those.
Stessel said Metro was â€śgoing to hold off speculationâ€ť on the revenue and ridership impact the federal shutdown will have on the agency. Metrorail has about 750,000 rider trips on an average weekday. At rush hour, Metro rail has about 200,000 rider trips, of which 40 percent are federal workers, Metro said.
â€śThere are some federal workers who are exempted who are still riding,â€ť Stessel said. â€śWe’ll have a better sense in the next 24 to 48 hoursâ€ť of the impact on ridership.
Metro has said riders could see fewer eight-car trains, as they would not need as many since there would be fewer people riding at rush hour times as the shutdown continues.
Metro has two means to bill and receive payment from federal agencies who provide their workers with subsidized rides on the transit system. Some agencies pay in advance, while others are billed by Metro on a monthly basis, according to Stessel. He said the October invoices were sent to some federal agencies in late September, and those agencies have 30 days to pay Metro.