Over Three Days, Metro Accommodates Record Ridership

Sunday, January 25, 2009

On Inauguration Day, Metro carried more people than on any day in its 33-year history. Here's how it breaks down: 1,120,000 train trips, 423,000 Metrobus trips, and 1,721 MetroAccess paratransit rides. That's a total of 1,544,721. On Sunday and Monday, the agency set rail ridership records for those days. Metro had estimated that Inauguration Day operations would cost the agency at least $3.5 million. That number is likely to increase because Metro operated extra hours and added more trains on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The agency also allowed thousands of people to stream through open fare gates without paying to ease crowds.

A look at some of the other numbers:

Inaugural Metrorail ridership:

Jan. 18, the day of the welcoming ceremony and concert at the Lincoln Memorial: 616,324 rail trips. Previous Sunday ridership record: 540,945 trips set July 4, 1999.

Jan. 19, Martin Luther King Jr. holiday: 866,681 trips

Inauguration Day: 1,120,000 trips

Rail cars:

On Tuesday, Metro had more rail cars available for service than ever before: 1,044, and operated 974 during the busiest period that afternoon.

On a typical weekday, the rail system deploys about 830 rail cars.

Hours of Service:

Metrorail ran an unprecedented 17 hours of rush-hour service on Inauguration Day. In the 72 hours between Sunday and Tuesday, Metro ran 60 hours of rail service.

Metro Web site:

From Jan. 16 through Inauguration Day: 4.3 million page views

Inauguration Day: 1.37 million page views

Commemorative fare:

As of Jan. 21, Metro had sold 93,380 commemorative Obama SmarTrip electronic fare cards and 53,462 commemorative one-day rail passes.

Metro trip planner:

For Jan. 16-20, an average of 90,221 trips were planned on the Web site's trip planner. The peak was Monday, when 130,045 trips were planned, more than double the normal weekday average of 60,000 trips.

Train breakdowns:

Doors: 10 trains were taken out of service because of door problems, but because maintenance personnel were stationed at key locations throughout the system, Metro was able to troubleshoot quickly and put seven trains back into service.

Sick customers: Three sick customers were reported, but none resulted in passengers being taken off trains.

Brakes: Four trains taken out of service.


On Inauguration Day, Metro operated 1,300 buses.

Of the 423,000 bus trips Tuesday, 228,000 were on 23 special bus corridors; 3,000 on service to park-and-ride lots outside the Beltway; 177,000 on regular routes; and 15,000 on special shuttle buses at locations such as New Carrollton.


More than 8,000 Metro employees worked Inauguration Day, including quick-response teams stationed on the north and south side of Pennsylvania Avenue, mechanic crews at key downtown stations, extra train operators, and station managers and station coordinators, whose job was to control flow. The total also included 417 transit police officers, 266 volunteer police officers from other police agencies, 340 non-operations employees who worked primarily in Metro stations to help riders use the system, and at least two technicians at locations where trains switch from one track to another. Their job was to block and crank switches manually if electronic signals failed.

Portable Toilets:

Restrooms at all 86 rail stations were closed for security reasons. Metro rented 150 portable toilets and placed them at stations close to or near the ends of the lines. At least one report of a bathroom-related accident: platform at Federal Center station.

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