An average of 27,000 persons ride the Metro rails each week day. Washington Post Staff writer Sharon Conway and staff photographer Margaret Thomas took a ride on the Metro to find out how District residents use their new transportation system.

Alan Gardiner, 26, a technical editor and market analyst who lives at 17th and Q Streets NW: "I live downtown near the stop and use the Metro to get back and forth from the Hill. Today I just took a ride because I had 20 extra minutes. I think it's great. It's convenient for shopping and for visiting friends. I use it four to five times a week."

Patricia Britt, 16, a student who lives on 13th Street NW: "I don't use the Metro that much, I can use it. Today I'm going to a job interview."

Victoria Gordon, 22, a student who lives on Saint Matthews Court NW: "I use it every day to go to College Park and the University of Maryland. I transfer to the bus and it takes an hour, about the same amount of time as if I go the whole way on the bus, but I like it better."

Larry Chisley, 25, a computer programer who lives at 17th Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE: "I take the Metro to work and it gets me there on time or with five extra minutes. I have no complaints although it gets pretty crowded in the morning. If I have to take the bus I'm often late to work. I'm taking it today to do some shopping."

Mickey Mitchell, 20s, a student at the University of the District of Columbia who lives on 13th Street NW: "I catch the bus and transfer to Metro for classes at Gallery Place. It saves me at least 15 to 20 minutes a day."

Lloyd Cottom, 22, a maintenance man for Metro who lives on Gorman Terrace SE: "I ride every day from here (Gallery Place) to Metro Center and Union Station. I get a free ride to work and it only takes three minutes."

Halah Zahir, 19, a vocalist who lives on Monroe Street NE: "I'm going downtown and it's easier and gets you there faster. You can take your time this way. I use Metro every chance I get. I could drive but I'd rather take the Metro than drive."